Several companies sought MetroPCS merger prior to T-Mobile deal

19 Nov 2012

US pre-paid specialist MetroPCS has revealed that it was courted by several different operators prior to its 3 October agreement to merge with T-Mobile USA. Citing a preliminary proxy statement filed by MetroPCS with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Fierce Wireless also reveals that T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom (DT), approached MetroPCS about a possible merger on 21 December 2011, just two days after AT&T Mobility announced that it was no longer going to pursue its controversial USD39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile due to opposition from regulators and the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The 500-plus-page proxy statement notes that MetroPCS came close to being acquired by a wireless carrier referred to as ‘Company G’ in late-February but that company’s board refused to approve the deal. Elsewhere, in early-2011 MetroPCS tried to purchase spectrum from two different satellite companies although neither of those deals came to fruition. MetroPCS also attempted to purchase spectrum from a wireless carrier, referred to as ‘Company E’, but that company sold its spectrum to another firm.

As was widely rumoured at the time, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) notes that Company G is actually Sprint Nextel. Further, according to the SEC filing, an executive with Company G contacted MetroPCS in early October, the night before the T-Mobile deal was publicly announced. The executive alluded to the new capital Sprint was about to receive from its takeover by Japan’s Softbank, and expressed interest in a new deal for MetroPCS.

The WSJ also adds that US satellite TV provider DISH Network lodged a bid to acquire MetroPCS in August for around USD4 billion. In the SEC document, DISH is reportedly described as ‘Company C’; the satellite firm has long harboured designs to enter the US wireless market, and was last week linked to a tie-up with search engine giant Google Inc.