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SoftBank close to announcing merger deal for Sprint, T-Mobile

Regulatory hurdles still loom for bid to join ranks of largest US mobile carriers

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group has reached a broad agreement to merge its Sprint unit with T-Mobile US, a long-sought-after move for the Japanese group that would create a rival to America's top two wireless carriers.

A deal could be announced as early as this month. Tokyo-based SoftBank owns 83% of Sprint, while German group Deutsche Telekom holds 64% of T-Mobile.

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