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Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure and T-Mobile CEO John Legere announce the deal Sunday. Screenshot: Axios

Sprint and T-Mobile’s chief executives believe regulators will sign off on their proposed deal, they told Axios Sunday, but they're not basing their optimism on specific discussions with federal and state officials.

Why it matters: In the past, regulators have frowned on telecom mergers that would reduce the number of national players.

The details: T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the companies think that regulators will respond to one or more of three arguments: the deal will create jobs, bring prices down, and allow the US to compete with China and Korea.

  • "Those things together make us think that each constituent that has to look at this deal will see the things that they think are important in their policy decisions," Legere said.

But, but, but: "We haven’t had any conversations. We haven’t pre-sold ... the deal," Legere said. "Obviously, we have individual relationships especially with the FCC and multiple states that of course we can think about how they would look at things.”

The executives defended their claim the deal will create jobs, even though it seems likely that Sprint and T-Mobile would have overlapping operations in some areas, like retail.

  • Mike Sievert, COO of T-Mobile, said that the firms planned to build "hundreds of new stores, particularly further out into the suburbs and rural areas, that will unleash thousands of new jobs even in that area on a gross basis. Others may move around.”

The two companies expect the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review the deal, because Sprint's majority shareholder is Japan's Softbank and T-Mobile is owned by the German Deutsche Telekom. "CFIUS will definitely opine," Legere said. "We don’t prejudge or anticipate any issues."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.