Sprint CFO Says Failed T-Mobile Mega-Merger Talks Were "Very Exciting"

Sprint Logo - Getty - H 2017
Getty Images

"We exchanged a kiss on the cheek, our parents saw that and sent us back to our rooms," Tarek Robbiati told an investors conference.

Sprint CFO Tarek Robbiati on Tuesday said recent merger talks with rival telecom giant T-Mobile collapsed after parents Softbank and Deutsche Telekom couldn't agree on how to share control of the combined company.

"We were dancing, it was very exciting, we exchanged a kiss on the cheek, and our parents saw that and sent us back to our rooms," he told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference during a session that was webcast. Sprint, the fourth-largest wireless provider, recently ended merger talks with T-Mobile U.S. that would have created a bigger American wireless company to rival market leaders Verizon and AT&T.

Asked about the failed merger discussions, Robbiati pointed to Japan's SoftBank Group, which controls Sprint, and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom getting cold feet over management control as they neared the finish line. Together, Sprint and T-Mobile would have had annual revenues of around $70 billion and more than 130 million subscribers.

Robbiati said it was time to leave talk of a combination with T-Mobile behind and complete a turnaround of Sprint on its own. "It's important that we all move on. Let's execute," he said.

Robbiati also argued regulatory uncertainty around any media deal in the U.S. market is high, given that the Department of Justice is looking to possibly block the $85 billion AT&T and Time Warner deal. "It's certainly something we're mindful of," he said.