In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), T-Mobile US has revealed its intention to acquire regional operator Shentel – which was previously an affiliate of its recently acquired Sprint unit. On 26 August – via Sprint Corporation – T-Mobile exercised a November 1999 option held by Sprint PCS to acquire Shentel’s wireless communications assets. (Note: if T-Mobile did not exercise the purchase option, Shentel would have had a 60-day period to purchase the legacy T-Mobile network and subscribers in its area. Failing that, T-Mobile would have been obliged to decommission the legacy network.)
However, the two parties remain some way apart in terms of agreeing a valuation. The SEC filing explains: ‘Prior to Sprint exercising the call option described above, Shentel and T-Mobile had been in discussions regarding the appraisal framework through which the purchase price for Shentel’s wireless telecommunications assets would be determined if Sprint were to exercise its option. The parties were not able to agree on certain terms for an effective appraisal of Shentel’s wireless telecommunications assets. On 24 August 2020, Shentel delivered to T-Mobile a ‘Notice of Dispute’ relating to the appraisal framework items discussed by the parties and other contractual terms related to Sprint’s acquisition of Shentel’s wireless telecommunications assets.’
Shentel, which operates in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and portions of Kentucky and Ohio, has been a Sprint affiliate since 1995. The cellco ended June 2020 with 1.024 million mobile subscribers, and also presides over fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and DOCSIS 3.1 broadband networks.