Bonn / Bellevue (dpa) - Deutsche Telekom has secured the option to acquire a majority stake in the US mobile operator T-Mobile. The Bonn-based company announced a deal with the Japanese softbank group after the US exchange closed, which could increase its stake from around 43 to 51 percent.

In return, the Japanese who are in dire straits are given the green light to save billions of urgently needed funds.

The agreement provides for Softbank - one of the world's largest tech investors - to sell up to 198 million T-Mobile shares with a value of approximately $ 21 billion (€ 18.7 billion). Telekom receives purchase options for 101 million that can be drawn until June 2024. If fully exercised, Bonn's share in T-Mobile US would increase to the above 50 percent.

As the majority owner of the US rival Sprint, recently merged with T-Mobile, Softbank received a 24 percent stake in the merged company as part of the merger. After the now planned sale of shares, this should decrease to around eight percent. The Japanese had speculated with daring investments in the stumbling office space broker WeWork or the taxi replacement service Uber and urgently need money.

Softbank had previously announced that it would consider selling a billion-dollar T-Mobile share package. However, because of the agreements in the context of the sprint merger, this required a new agreement with Telekom, which already controls 67 percent of the voting rights. T-Mobile is expected to receive $ 300 million in cash from Softbank on the new deal. Five million T-Mobile shares go to Softbank manager and ex-sprint boss Marcelo Claure.

After a roughly two-year antitrust game, T-Mobile and its smaller competitor Sprint had finally brought their merger dry in April. The mega deal created a new heavyweight in the US mobile communications market that industry leaders Verizon and AT&T want to overtake. The merged company recently had a market value of just under $ 132 billion.