Dish Network is holding secretive discussions with banks in an attempt to secure up to $15 billion in funding to finance an acquisition bid for T-Mobile US.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, unnamed sources indicate talks are ongoing between banks and the US cable company. If successful, these discussions could result in Dish Network securing between $10 and $15 billion in debt to finance the firm's potential cash portion of a bid for the carrier T-Mobile US.
People familiar with the matter told the WSJ the bid would be primarily based on stock. In addition, Dish Network and T-Mobile are discussing a potential deal which would leave Deutsche Telekom AG -- the controller of T-Mobile -- with a large minority stake in the merger.
A deal has yet to be set in stone, and may not go ahead. However, the talks do indicate Dish -- one of the largest satellite providers in the United States -- believes the company has a fighting chance.
T-Mobile has a market capitalization of approximately $31 billion, whereas Dish has a market value of $34 billion.
T-Mobile US is the fourth-largest carrier in the United States, coming behind Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. In recent years, T-Mobile has turned around its falling subscriber numbers caused by tough competition with deals including the Uncarrier plans, which appeal to consumers by giving them more flexibility in contracts.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere recently went on a tirade against rivals AT&T and Verizon's lobbying tactics concerning an upcoming FCC spectrum auction, claiming their strong-arm tactics will continue to "bulldoze American wireless consumers."
Spectrum resources are a constant source of scuffles between carriers as consumers demand networks capable of supporting more data-heavy tasks such as video streaming. Earlier this year, Dish paid $13.3 billion for wireless spectrum in a US auction, but has yet to build a network to put the spectrum to extensive use.
If a deal goes ahead between Dish and T-Mobile, the latter would be able to use the spectrum to expand and strengthen the T-Mobile network, and Dish would have access to the platform for Pay TV services.
If the deal goes ahead, the publication says Legere would take up position as CEO of the combined company.