Iliad, the French integrated operator, is in talks with private equity firms about putting together an improved bid to acquire a majority stake in T-Mobile US, according to a Bloomberg report.
Iliad’s submitted an initial offer at the beginning of August worth $15 billion ($33 per share) for a 56.6 per cent stake in the fourth largest mobile operators in the US.
Although the offer was rejected by Deutsche Telekom as “inadequate”, T-Mobile US CFO, Braxton Carter, indicated a higher offer from Iliad might be viewed more positively, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In addition, reports last week suggested that Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent, would be willing to talk to potential acquirers if offers were made valuing the US business at $35 per share or more.
The suggestion that a slight increase in valuation of T-Mobile would trigger talks may well be behind Iliad’s discussions with US buyout firms and sovereign wealth funds.
According to sources, Iliad’s chief, Xavier Niel, believes the success of the company’s Free Mobile brand — which has shaken up the French mobile market by offering lower prices than its rivals — can be replicated in the US with T-Mobile.
US number three operator Sprint recently pulled out of talks with T-Mobile about a potential merger which was believed to value T-Mobile at around $40 per share. However, regulatory concerns are believed to have put the companies off such a deal for the time being.
Separately, Iliad reported its first half results at the end of last week with consolidated revenue of €2 billion (up 10 per cent) and a profit of €139.9 million, a 1.3 per cent decline.
It saw a 24 per cent jump in mobile revenue (€746 million) as it added one million mobile subscribers to reach a total of 15 million mobile and landline combined.