With Softbank having confirmed the $20.1 billion Sprint acquisition earlier today, there doesn’t seem to be anything standing in the way of the T-Mobile/MetroPCS love affair. Both SoftBank and Sprint have been rumored to take an interest in a possible merger with up and coming regional carrier MetroPCS, but it is highly unlikely that a conglomerate involving the three would ever have a shot of being granted all the necessary regulatory approvals.
Having probably just that in mind, Deutsche Telekom has now announced for the first time a possible ETA for the completing of the T-Mo/MetroPCS merger. “The transaction is not likely to be carried out until the second quarter of 2013” said Timotheus Hoettges, Chief Financial Officer for Deutsche Telekom, the German owner of T-Mobile, in an exclusive talk with Boersenzeitung newspaper.
That puts the completing of the affair between April and June 2013, which might sound like a long time from now, considering how enthusiastic both companies seemed about everything. However, you have to keep in mind that the deal needs to go through FCC and antitrust approval procedures that are usually painfully slow. Not to mention MetroPCS’s board also needs to give the merger the official thumbs up, although that seems like a formality.
Hoetgess touched upon the subject of Deutsche Telekom’s financial state as well, insisting that the T-Mobile USA/MetroPCS deal won’t affect in any way the 2012 shareholder remuneration policy of T-Mo’s parent company. “Given profits brought forward of 1.6 billion euros and retained earnings of 15.5 billion euros there can be no doubt in our ability to pay a dividend.” said the CFO, revealing that said dividend will be of at least 0.70 euros ($0.91) per share for this year.
So, what exactly are the chances of what looked like a fantasy a while ago to become reality as soon as April 2013? Really, really good, we’d say, although a lot of things can happen till then.
We don’t have to look any further than December 2011 to find the latest “done deal”, between AT&T and T-Mobile, that got cancelled. Sure, things are a bit different this time around, mostly due to Deutsche Telekom’s increasingly fervent desire to get rid of the money pit T-Mo US has become, but until hearing word from antitrust agencies, we should all keep our cool. And that includes people who dream of “T-Metro” challenging the top three US carriers.