Could Google, Microsoft Help Iliad Win Over T-Mobile?
Iliad is now turning to Google and Microsoft for some help padding its rejected $15 billion bid for T-Mobile, reports suggest.
A "well-placed source" tells the New York Post that Iliad (Euronext: ILD) has asked Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to help it make a second acquisition attempt for T-Mobile US Inc. The French mobile broadband provider's surprise offer of $33 per share for 57% of T-Mobile earlier this month was promptly dismissed as being too low. (See Eurobites: Iliad Needs to Up Its T-Mobile Bid , Iliad Offers $15B for a Stake in T-Mobile, Iliad's Bid for T-Mobile: This Ain't No Joke and T-Mobile Rejects Initial Iliad Bid – WSJ.)
Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) had been working on a bid for its competitor, but the carrier's board decided to stop pursuing it shortly after Iliad's bid. It has since been reported that Iliad is looking to a number of US players to help it try again. (See Sprint Drops Bid for T-Mobile – Reports and Eurobites: DT Down on Sprint's Withdrawal.)
Those potential suitors include Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), Charter Communications Inc. and Cox Communications Inc. , although Cox confirmed to Reuters Tuesday it's not interested in making an offer. (See T-Mobile CFO Eyes Dish, Growth Opportunities and Eurobites: Iliad Could Team Up for T-Mob Pursuit.)
It's long been rumored that Google wants to enter the wireless market in a bid to get more consumers using its Internet-based services. In fact, T-Mobile has also been named as a potential acquisition target. But operating a wireless network would not only be a departure for the software giant -- and Microsoft too, for that matter -- it would also tick off its key partners, the US wireless operators.
While the industry waits to see if one of these M&A rumors actually comes true, T-Mobile is busy doing its "uncarrier" thing in the US and mercilessly trash-talking its former acquisition partner, Sprint. Its subscriber gains have some questioning whether an acquisition is necessary at all, but the carrier's parent company Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has said it remains open to the possibility. (See DT Wants Spectrum Favors; Legere Wants Sprint's Slot and T-Mob's Legere Unleashed: 'Total Chaos at Sprint'.)
"We're open to a transaction that creates value for all T-Mobile US shareholders, compared with continuing the business on its own," DT CEO Timotheus Höttges said on the company's latest earnings call. "Right now, there's no such offer on the table."
T-Mobile's stock was trading up 2.05%, or .59 points, to $29.54 Wednesday amongst all the merger speculation.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading