, the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the US respectively, expect to complete negotiations for a merger as early as next week, sources tell Reuters.
Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group, which controls Sprint, and German company Deutsche Telekom, controller of T-Mobile, are discussing terms for how they would exercise voting control over the combined company, the news agency reported. This could allow Deutsche Telekom to consolidate the combined company on its books, even without a majority stake in it, the sources said.
Sprint declined to comment. T-Mobile didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The two companies have talked about a possible merger several times, with the latest talks reportedly restarting earlier this month -- five months after the two last broke off talks. It's the pair's third go-around for a hookup since 2014.
If the two companies do reach a deal, they'd leapfrog
, which is the No. 2 carrier in the US, just behind
. But even if they do agree to merge, it may not be so simple. The Justice Department is currently trying to block AT&T's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner.