Sprint Parent Company 'Basically Open To Anything' But Top Merger Choice Remains T-Mobile

SoftBank Group, the Japanese parent company that owns U.S.-based wireless provider Sprint, is ready to make a deal.

"T-Mobile is the one that would yield the most synergies, the most orthodox choice and we'd sincerely love to begin talks," SoftBank's CEO Masayoshi Son said during the company's earnings call on Wednesday.

Despite naming T-Mobile as its primary candidate as a potential merger partner, Son said that the company is "basically open to anything" and won't be limiting its options for its U.S. wireless unit.

[Related: Report: Softbank Willing To Give Up Sprint Control To Seal Merger Deal With T-Mobile]

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T-Mobile's CEO John Legere said during CES 2017 in January that the carrier would be open to "various forms of consolidation."

T-Mobile being bought by SoftBank will result in consumers and channel partners having fewer national wireless competitors to choose from, according to one telecom solution provider that requested anonymity. "We'll have to hope that T-Mobile doesn't get bought," an executive for the solution provider organization said.

Sprint is the fourth largest wireless provider in the U.S., having fallen behind T-Mobile in terms of subscriber base. But SoftBank has "real money," meaning that Sprint's owner has the means to strike a deal or put a large-scale merger proposal on the table, the solution provider executive said.

Sprint, which has been reporting financial losses since 2007, reported a loss of $0.07 per share on $8.5 billion in revenue during Q1 2017. However, the wireless provider added 42,000 new postpaid phone subscribers during the first quarter.

One of the reasons that SoftBank is doubling down on its merger ambitions is the new regulatory climate in the U.S., according to Son. The current FCC, led by Republican chairman Ajit Pai, is more open to the possibility of a deal, he said.

SoftBank's merger attempt with T-Mobile failed in 2014 when the deal ran into regulatory hurdles under the Obama administration's FCC, which was led by Democratic chairman Tom Wheeler.

Now that the government's wireless spectrum auction is over, the quiet period that telecom providers have had to abide by has come to an end, making it possible to enter into M&A discussions.

News of SoftBank's potential merger plans sent both Sprint and T-Mobile's stock up early Wednesday morning, with Sprint up 2.7 percent and T-Mobile rising 3.8 percent during premarket trading.