By Ben Munson
With Sprint reportedly working on a bid to buy T-Mobile, a widely speculated possibility could be moving closer to fruition.
The Wall Street Journal cited sources who revealed Sprint is studying up on the regulatory hurdles such a deal would have to clear and possibly planning on announcing the bid—reportedly higher than $20 billion—in the first half of 2014.
Sprint declined to comment on the report.
The possibility of a wireless market winnowed down to three large competitors could be a difficult pill to swallow for antitrust officials. AT&T’s proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile was sunk by the Justice Department precisely because of antitrust concerns.
Sprint just closed out an active year for M&A, buying out Clearwire and agreeing to be acquired by Japanese carrier SoftBank for nearly $22 billion. SoftBank currently owns 80 percent of Sprint.
T-Mobile this year finished its acquisition of MetroPCS. Deutsche Telekom owns 67 percent of T-Mobile but as the report points out, the German carrier could be looking to leave the U.S. market.