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Sprint and T-Mobile are closing on a $26 billion merger that could be announced as soon as Sunday, CNBC reports.

Why it's a big deal: Because this would create the country's second-largest wireless carrier. Assuming, of course, that it passes regulatory muster.

Third time's a charm: Sprint and T-Mobile have been through two prior sets of negotiations, the last one of which ended just weeks before U.S. regulators sued to block AT&T's proposed purchase of Time Warner.

  • This time around, they likely needed to get a deal in place prior to November, when a new wireless spectrum auction is expected and M&A activity would be suspended.

The combined company's size would be on par with industry leaders AT&T and Verizon. Regulatory approval is the obvious wildcard, but the wireless market is seen as more nationally competitive than cable (even though AT&T was blocked from its own attempted purchase of T-Mobile in 2011).

Bottom line: If regulators do object, it's much more likely to come from the Department of Justice than from the FCC.

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The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.

Stocks close down more than 3%

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images

Stocks took a hit on Wednesday, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrials Average and Nasdaq dropping more than 3% across the board.

Why it matters: The volatility is a break from the stock market grinding higher in the face of spiking coronavirus cases, a stalling economy and gridlocked negotiations over an additional stimulus package.