Mobile's John Legere denies Justice Department pushback on Sprint merger

Legere said on Twitter it was "simply untrue", as had been reported, that Justice Department staff had told the companies the deal was unlikely to be approved in its current form.

A sign for a T-Mobile store is seen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 30, 2018.

Justice Department staffers have told T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. that their planned merger is unlikely to be approved as now structured, according to people familiar with the matter, casting doubt on the fate of the $26 billion deal.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the U.S. Department of Justice is unlikely to approve the planned merger between T-Mobile and Sprint as it's now structured.

Sprint shares "are trading at a roughly 20 percent discount to the price implied by the all-stock deal, signaling Wall Street doubts about the combination's chances", the report also said. The report cited people familiar with the matter.

Also, DOJ officials reportedly questioned T-Mobile and Sprint's claims that the merger would lead to important efficiencies. DOJ spokesman Jeremy Edwards declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.

T-Mobile has been using every possible opportunity to talk up its plans to acquire Sprint, hoping to amass enough support to push the deal through. Shares of T-Mobile fell 4 percent.

The T-Mobile/Sprint deal would reduce the number of nationwide mobile carriers from four to three, limiting customer choice across the United States. There's a possibility that T-Mobile and Sprint will offer concessions to ease the government's worries.

The Obama administration rebuffed the companies' earlier effort to merge, as well as an attempted deal between AT&T and T-Mobile, on concerns such deals would hurt competition in the wireless industry.

"The different groups of government officials are operating on similar timelines and a final decision is still likely several weeks away", the Journal wrote.

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