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Economist weighs in ahead of expected approval for Sprint-T-Mobile merger

Sprint HQ.jpg
Posted at 7:18 AM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 08:18:50-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The U.S. Department of Justice could approve a merger between Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint and T-Mobile as early as Thursday, according to sources who have spoken with CNBC.

The proposed merger would put Sprint under the T-Mobile name. Throughout negotiations, company leaders have said they would keep a presence at the Overland Park campus currently housing Sprint.

An economic researcher with Kansas City, Missouri-based Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) said there are two ways to watch how the merger unfolds to determine exactly how it will impact the Kansas City area.

First, if T-Mobile keeps a large presence in Overland Park, the roughly 5,000 people working for Sprint in Overland Park could keep their jobs. The Washington-based telecommunications company could help stabilize Sprint which researchers said lost more than 20,000 jobs in the Kansas City area over the past 20 years.

"Perhaps the new company will see Kansas City as a second headquarters and maybe even see some more growth back in the Kansas City area that Sprint wasn't able to do while trying to compete in that very vicious economy," said Jeff Pinkerton of MARC.

One the other hand, if T-Mobile drastically reduces its presence in Overland Park, thousands of people would be looking for new jobs. However, Pinkerton predicts other companies such as Cerner and Garmin would go after employees lost in the merger.

"These are talented folks who are probably going to be able to find work fairly quickly. And there are a lot of companies in Kansas City that are struggling to find people, talented people" he said.

Pinkerton said with any corporate headquarters, there are highs and lows and those swings impact the city where the corporation is headquartered most.

Since Sprint sold its campus near 117th Street and Nall Avenue, a property management company has begun leasing office space. Pinkerton said that is a sign of growth outside Sprint that will help boost the economy.