Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Wireless providers T-Mobile and Sprint have announced plans to merge in a $26.5 billion deal, emphasizing that together they can build and roll out a high-speed, affordable 5G wireless network.
The combined company will retain the T-Mobile name and John Legere will be CEO of the new entity. The merger will be an all-stock deal, exchanging 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share. That would create a giant valued at ~$146 billion, including debt.
Here’s what the structure looks like: T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom will own 42% of the combined carrier, Sprint parent company SoftBank will own 27%, and public shareholders get the remaining 31%. The deal marks the third time that SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son has acted on his years-long plan to combine Sprint and T-Mobile.
It’s important to remember that this is not a done deal. Although there is an agreement in place, the proposed transaction is now pending regulatory approval. Previously, attempted mergers have been rejected on the basis that more competition is better for consumers. And other times, there have been sudden executive orders prohibiting an acquisition from going through.
Though this deal was blocked four years ago by regulators in the Obama administration, this time might be different.
Company officials have spent quite some time wooing the Trump administration with its 5G network promises at a time when the White House views such a wireless network crucial for the country’s economic and national security. “We’re confident that, once regulators see the compelling benefits, they’ll agree this is the right move at the right time for consumers and the country,” Legere said in a statement.
STATE OF THE MARKETS: Silicon Valley Bank released its latest State of the Markets report, and here are some of the key takeaways:
— Public debuts: Several high-profile companies went public this year despite market turbulence. Two decacorns — Spotify and Dropbox — started the new year off with a bang. But the SVB report demonstrates that their decade-plus journeys illustrate different paths to their current robust valuations. The road to IPO is not an easy one.
— Mega money: As we already know, more and more companies are delaying IPOs thanks to easy access to private capital. For the past four years, mega-rounds have outpaced IPOs every quarter. As a result, venture firms are adjusting to this cash-rich environment by stocking their war chests with significant capital.
— SoftBank: SoftBank is taking the lead in the latest wave of mega-rounds. There were 21 private IPOs in the first quarter (SVB defines a “private IPO” as a financing of $100 million or more). As mutual funds and hedge funds scale back and private equity awaits more favorable valuations, SoftBank is swooping in to write bigger & bigger checks at sky-high valuations.
NAME CHANGE: Microsoft changed the name of its venture capital fund, Microsoft Ventures, to M12. Why? Because somehow “entrepreneurs still face confusion” about what the venture arm does…The company says that Microsoft Ventures was used as an overarching term to encompass its accelerator programs, which spun off and was renamed some time ago. So now we have M12 (the “M” stands for Microsoft & the “12” represents the number of letters in the word “entrepreneur.”)
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• Saudi Arabia’s Oil Company Just Put a Woman on Its Board for the First Time (by Natasha Bach)
• Why I Refuse DNA Testing (by Robert Hackett)
• St. Louis Federal Reserve says Bitcoin is ‘Like Regular Currency’ (by David Z. Morris)
• What Can Trump’s Economic Team Accomplish in Beijing? (by Clay Chandler)
• Flexport, a San Francisco-based technology platform for global trade, raised $100 million in funding from SF Holding.
• Dugout, a U.K.-based digital football business, raised $11.685 million in funding. David and Frank McCourt led the round.
• LeaseLock, a Los Angeles-based insurance technology product for the rental housing market, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Wildcat Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, American Family Ventures and Moderne Ventures.
• EcoFlow, a San Francisco and China-based mobile power company, raised more than $4 million in Series A funding. Investors include Delia Capital, SCUD Groupand Guangzhou Penghui Energy.
• Maverick, a Los Angeles-based new social network for girls, raised $2.7 million in seed funding. Heroic Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including BBG Ventures and Jeff Weiner.
• Minim, a New Hampshire-based IoT platform whose technology protects connected devices in homes, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Flybridge Capital Partners and Founder Collective co-led the round.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• A-Mansia, a Belgium-based microbiome company, raised 13 million euros ($15.7 million) in funding. Seventure Partners led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• MainLine Investment Partners LLC invested $35.4 million in Alternative Medical Enterprises, a Sarasota, Fla.-based provider of medical cannabis products.
• Littlejohn & Co., LLC made an investment in Motion Recruitment Partners, a Boston-based recruitment firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Baidu Inc (NASDAQ: BIDU) is selling a majority of financial services business to an investor group led by TPG and Carlyle Group for about $1.9 billion. Baidu will have 42% of the unit, renamed Du Xiaoman Financial, which provides consumer credit, wealth management and other financial services. Other investors include Taikang Group and ABC International Holdings.
• Walmart Inc will sell its British arm Asda Group Ltd. to J Sainsbury PLC in a deal that values the chain at about £7.3 billion ($10.1 billion), according to the Wall Street Journal. Under the terms of the deal, Walmart gets a 42% stake in the combined company and almost £3 billion in cash. Read more.
• Marathon Petroleum Corp will buy Andeavor (NYSE: ANDV) for more than $23 billion, according to Reuters. The cash-and-stock deal values Andeavor at about $152 per share, representing a premium of about 24% to Andeavor stock’s close on April 27. Read more.
• Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp will buy ILG Inc (Nasdaq:ILG) in a cash and stock deal worth about $4.7 billion. ILG shareholders will receive $14.75 in cash and 0.165 shares of Marriott Vacations for each share, according to Reuters. Read more.
• H.I.G. Capital agreed to acquire Elekeiroz (BOVESPA: ELEK4) from Itaúsa. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.