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Dish and T-Mobile US In Early Stage Merger Talks

June 4, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Dish and T-Mobile are something akin to high school sweethearts. The two businesses have been linked together for some considerable time but have not yet combined forces. Each particular business has observed in the past of the potential of the two businesses merging: we have seen Dish in talks to buy Sprint, but we’re presumably piped to the post by Japanese carrier Softbank for the sum of $21.6 billion. At the time, T-Mobile’s Chief Executive Officer is reported to have expressed interest in Dish and how T-Mobile’s spectrum and wireless capabilities could help, “When I look at the medium to long term, I’m intrigued by Dish’s vision.”

The Wall Street Journal has now run a story cutting that the fourth largest US carrier, T-Mobile, is on “early stage merger talks” with the US’ second largest satellite television provider. Sources told the newspaper that the combined company would install Dish’s Chief Executive, Charlie Seven, as it’s chairman and T-Mobile’s outspoken Chief Executive, John Legere, as the new Chief Executive. Such a deal would combine T-Mobile’s 39 million customers with Dish’s near 14 million satellite television customers and 591,000 Internet subscribers. However, whilst the top level management appears to have been deliberated, important details regarding the purchase price and mix of cash and stock have yet to be leaked. The Wall Street Journal also reminded readers that the talks could dissolve without reaching an agreement: essentially, this is a rumor, although a persistent one at this. The stories have resurged after Dish became the second highest bidder in the recent Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent spectrum auction, which combines with the satelite television operator’s other wireless spectrum purchases through other deals. It appears that Dish is preparing to build its own wireless network big enough to pose a threat to the established American wireless operators. Combining with the fourth largest in the market could help propel T-Mobile into a higher spot in short order.

It’s unclear what may happened at this stage. T-Mobile US have been linked with many potential suitors over the years, plus parent Deutche Telekom have discussed the possibilities. But we’ve also seen Chief Executive John Legere telling the world that T-Mobile doesn’t need a business partner or merger. Perhaps my early reference to high street sweethearts is very close to the mark?