Well, that whole Sprint-T-Mobile saga just got a lot more interesting.
According to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, French telecom company Iliad SA has made an offer to acquire T-Mobile US. The bid was reportedly made a week ago, but it’s unclear how much Iliad SA offered or how T-Mobile responded.
Iliad SA reportedly wants to snap up T-Mobile because it thinks of this situation as a “one-time opportunity to enter the world’s largest telecoms market.” The French company, which offers cheap wireless rates in its home country, thinks that its bid would be given the thumbs up by U.S. regulators since Iliad SA isn’t already involved in the U.S. wireless market.
Obviously there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding Iliad SA’s bid. News of the offer is still a big deal, though, because it’s a French company making an attempt to acquire one of the U.S.’s largest carriers.
There’s also the fact that rumors of a Sprint-T-Mobile deal have been swirling since late 2013. And while Sprint and T-Mo are allegedly nearly ready to strike a deal, there are still concerns about whether or not the U.S. government would approve a deal that would reduce the number of major U.S. carriers.
UPDATE: Iliad has issued a press release confirming its interest in T-Mobile US. The company says that the US wireless market is “large and attractive” and that it sees T-Mobile has “successfully established a disruptive position” that’s similar to its own in France.
Iliad explains that it has made an offer of $15.6 billion in cash in exchange for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile. This cash would be financed by a combination of debt and equity.
Iliad feels that the deal won’t raise any antitrust concerns since it’s not based in the U.S. Still, it cautions that there’s no guarantee that it’s offer will be accepted by T-Mobile.
Iliad’s full PDF announcement can be found here.