Charlie Ergen, chairman of US satellite TV giant DISH Network, reportedly approached Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DT) regarding a possible merger with T-Mobile USA, albeit informally. According to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the situation, DISH made the proposal sometime before 10 April, when DT unveiled a ‘sweetened’ bid for merger target MetroPCS Communications. The sources, who wished to remain anonymous, added that DT might consider DISH’s proposal, although only after the transaction with MetroPCS closes, and after verifying that a separate deal with Sprint Nextel is not feasible.
Last week the news agency reported that DISH had accrued a record USD10 billion ‘cash in hand’, roughly as much as oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil. The company’s growing cash pile has attracted widespread speculation in recent months, and the company recently priced a debt offering of USD2.3 billion, noting that the proceeds could be used for ‘wireless and spectrum-related strategic transactions’. In January 2013 DISH lodged an unsolicited, non-binding proposal for wireless broadband giant Clearwire, offering USD3.30 per share, subject to minimum ownership of at least 25% and the granting of certain governance rights. The deal, while still officially under consideration, is thought to be increasingly unlikely.