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T-Mobile, MetroPCS set to merge after regulators give thumbs-up

The two US cellular firms cleared the last regulatory hurdle today, allowing the two companies to merge. All that stands in the way is the final vote by MetroPCS shareholders.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, the fourth and fifth largest cellular networks in the US, are set to merge after the third and final regulator gave its thumbs up to the deal.

(Credit: T-Mobile USA)

First reported by Bloomberg, the three regulators involved in the scrutiny process have now passed the companies' inspection respectively, allowing the deal to close before the fiscal second quarter, as planned.

Now that the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) has given its approval, only a vote among MetroPCS shareholders to sign off on the deal is holding the deal merger, which is set to be voted upon on April 12.

The two companies were stalled temporarily during what turned out to be a normal holding process, in which the US Justice Department asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hold off on its review in November. 

In a letter, the Justice Dept.'s National Security Division asked for a deferring of the merger as part of a common procedure when a non-US company is involved in a takeover or merger of a US firm, as is the case here. (A similar letter was sent to the FCC regarding the Softbank-Sprint deal.)

The review went ahead and regulators began their scrutiny of the T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal only days later. The FCC was quick to approve the deal between the two firms in the country only a few weeks later. 

The T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal will go ahead in a complicated stock and cash deal, in which T-Mobile USA's Germany-based parent company Deutsche Telekom will own 74 percent of MetroPCS's common stock. The move initially came as a bit of a surprise considering rumors suggesting that the German company was trying to leave the US market.

According to earlier reports, T-Mobile USA plans to cut a large number of staff at its Bellevue, Washington headquarters once the merger completes

It comes after around 4,200 jobs were cut across the cellular network during the last calendar year. 

The fully-merged US carrier, which would have a combined subscriber base of roughly 42 million users, had an enterprise value of about $30.5 billion, according to the publication, based on MetroPCS's closing price on Wednesday.

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