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French telecom makes $15 billion bid for T-Mobile US

07/31/2014 | 04:21pm US/Eastern

French telecommunications service provider Iliad S.A. said Thursday it has offered T-Mobile US Inc. $15 billion in cash to obtain a majority share of the U.S. wireless company.

"T-Mobile US has successfully established a disruptive position, which in many ways, is similar to the one Iliad has built in France," the company said in a press release announcing the bid for the fourth largest carrier in the United States, which Iliad said has a "large and attractive" market.

The move to acquire 56.6 percent of the U.S. carrier for $33 per share seemingly pits the French company against Japan's SoftBank Corp., which is planning to buy T-Mobile through its U.S. wireless company Sprint Corp. that it bought last year.

Softbank and T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom AG originally anticipated to reach an agreement in July, but industry sources said earlier this month that negotiations have taken longer than expected. The final agreement could be delayed to after late August.

While U.S. competition policy authorities remain cautious about the integration of Sprint and T-Mobile as the merger would leave the market with only three major carriers, Iliad said their offer would not have such concerns.

"This transaction should not raise any antitrust issue in light of the competition rules given that Iliad is not present in the United States," it said, adding "there can be no certainty that the Iliad offer will be accepted by the Board of Directors of T-Mobile US."

(c) 2014 Kyodo News

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