The Sprint-T-Mobile deal has been approved by the US Justice Department - and alternative data shows the exact moment they seem to have known it would work out with laywers who, at one point, appeared poised to scuttle the mega-merger. 

We know that when mega M&A is on the way, job postings tend to go away. But what about when a deal blows up?

As one might expect, job postings return. Our first chart tracks job postings at Fiat ($FCAU), which, as its board prepared to abandon once-promising talks to merge with French automaker Renault ($EPA:RNO), started staffing up again. Once word surfaced in early June that the deal might fall apart, Fiat began adding job postings - more than 20% in a little over five weeks.

And, for a while, it sure looked like the deal to match up T-Mobile ($TMUS) and Sprint ($S) was headed that way as well. See our next chart, below. 

In late May, Reuters reported US Department of Justice lawyers recommended that the deal be scuttled, which came in a month when Sprint increased its job postings 46% and T-Mobile added 29% more job postings. By this time, some market watchers downgraded the deal's probability to being on "life support." 

In the six weeks that followed, they respectively reduced postings by roughly 20%, each. Or, put another way, they're right back to where they were (more or less) before May, and before serious concerns about the $26 billion deal's viability arose. 

The data seems to correlate with this expectation - our final graphic tracks T-Mobile's increase in job postings for mobile associates - or someone responsible for retail sales - which, temporarily, doubled in 2019. But now, T-Mobile backed away from its expectations it might need many more staffers for this role. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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