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French telco Iliad scraps bid to acquire T-Mobile US

The French phone giant confirmed the deal was a no-go, after the US cellular giant's German owner turned down its latest offer.
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Written by Zack Whittaker, Writer-editor on
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Image: stock image

French telco Iliad said it will no longer pursue T-Mobile US as a possible acquisition target.

The Paris, France-based firm said in a statement (French, PDF) on Monday that Deutsche Telekom, the German owner of the fourth largest US cellular network, rejected the offer.

Iliad first floated its offer to acquire 56 percent of the company in July, but Deutsche Telekom rejected the bid. Following financing and bank support, Iliad proposed a 67 percent acquisition, or $36 cents a share. 

Despite the raising of the offer, and Deutsche Telekom's long-standing position to sell off its US arm, Iliad confirmed it will now drop the takeover attempt altogether.

Iliad pinned the blame on some of T-Mobile US' board members, who were "refusing to comply" with its latest offering.

In its acquisition attempt to snap up more than two-thirds of T-Mobile US, Iliad said it would have helped the combined entities save about $2 billion, while giving the French telco a foot in the US market.

T-Mobile spun out as its own company following the merger of T-Mobile and MetroPCS in late-2012. Now trading publicly on the stock market as T-Mobile US, the up-and-coming rising star of the US cellular scene has been in high demand.

Sprint was said to have made a bid for the company, but while it looked good on paper it was said to have been difficult to merge the networks. T-Mobile chief executive John Legere sent a strong signal earlier this year that a Sprint takeover was not on the cards.

But later on, the French company announced its bid to take off a part of T-Mobile from its parent Deutsche Telekom's hands. This sparked a bidding war between Sprint and Iliad, which resulted in the valuation of T-Mobile US to be around the $25 billion mark.

The deal could have gone ahead — at least in terms of the regulators calling the shots — should T-Mobile's board have gone along with the bid. That could not have be said for Sprint, whose bid would have put the combined cellular company in the league of Verizon and AT&T — likely concerning federal regulators. 

Iliad said previously that it was adamant that its bid for T-Mobile wouldn't ruffle the feathers of Washington DC-based regulators, because the company does not have a presence in the US.

T-Mobile said recently at its fiscal second-quarter earnings that it topped 50 million subscribers. The phone giant also reported $391 million in profit, with earnings of $0.48 per share. 

T-Mobile ($TMUS) fell by 3 percent in mid-afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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