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Sprint, T-Mobile Shares Soar on Merger Speculation

Their on-again, off-again courtship may be back on.

Shares of wireless giants Sprint and T-Mobile soared Tuesday after a report in the Wall Street Journal said their on-again, off-again merger talks were back on.

This would be the third go-around for Sprint and T-Mobile after starting and then abandoning merger discussions in 2014 and 2017. Talks in 2014 ended after the federal government let it be known it would frown upon the combination No. 3 (T-Mobile) and No. 4 (Sprint) wireless carriers. And last November, the two companies came close to a deal but scrapped it after they could not agree who would control the combined company.

Sprint shares were priced as high as $6.41 each on Tuesday (up 24.7%, or $1.30 per share) and were trading at $6.08 each (up 93 cents or 18.2%) by the afternoon. T-Mobile shares had reached $64.56 earlier in the day (up 8.1% or $4.82 each) before settling to $63.57 (up 6.4%, or $3.83 each) by the afternoon.

A combined Sprint and T-Mobile would have about 100 million wireless customers, making it a solid No. 2 ahead of AT&T and behind Verizon Communications. The Journal said talks between the two are preliminary and could break down as they have in past years.