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US: Sprint faces surprise T-Mobile merger competition

 |  July 31, 2014

French telecommunications giant Iliad is reportedly looking to acquire a majority stake in US-based T-Mobile despite news that Sprint is seeking a merger with the wireless company.

Iliad, France’s fourth-place wireless operator, confirmed Thursday that it submitted a bid worth $15 billion to acquire the T-Mobile shares. According to reports, T-Mobile is about 60 percent larger than Iliad.

Iliad’s announcement comes as Sprint parent company SoftBank was reported to be putting the breaks on its planned acquisition of T-Mobile. Now that financial details of the proposed acquisition between SoftBank’s Sprint and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile are public, reports say, SoftBank has less pressure to formally submit a bit for the company. Unnamed sources said a formal acquisition filing would not likely be made until September.

Earlier reports said that Sprint would pay $32 billion to acquire T-Mobile and has additionally agreed to a $2 billion breakup fee should regulators block the transaction.

Both the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice must approve of the transaction.

According to reports, Deutsche Telekom did not appear to be keen on the idea that its T-Mobile unit would be acquired by Iliad. One source said T-Mobile had already rejected the offer.

It is unclear whether Sprint’s decision to not rush a formal bid was affected by Iliad’s reported interest in T-Mobile.

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