Report: National security panel clears T-Mobile-Sprint merger

A national security panel has approved the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The move helps push the deal closer to final approval, though the companies still need a sign-off from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

According to the Journal, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) approved the merger on Monday.

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Last week, Reuters reported that the interagency panel led by the Treasury Department was ready to give its approval after the two telecoms’ parent companies agreed to make concessions over their relationships with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which the U.S. intelligence committee has deemed a national security threat.

But according to the Journal, CFIUS’ approval is not resting on any such conditions, though national security officials have pressured companies to sever ties with Huawei, which is believed to have inextricable ties to the governing Communist Party in China.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile are controlled by foreign firms. The German Deutshe Telekom AG owns a controlling stake in T-Mobile and Sprint is owned by the Japanese firm SoftBank.

Neither company responded to requests for comment. A Treasury spokesperson for CFIUS declined to confirm the report, citing a legal obligation not to reveal any information about the panel’s reviews.

“By law, information filed with CFIUS may not be disclosed by CFIUS to the public,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Accordingly, the Department does not comment on information relating to specific CFIUS cases, including whether or not certain parties have filed notices for review.”