Analysts: T-Mobile/Dish deal still the most likely M&A option for the carrier

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is unlikely to strike a deal in the near term with any other cable or telecommunications providers aside from Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), according to a report from Wall Street firm Macquarie Capital.

In a research note assessing the impact of Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) proposed $56.7 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Macquarie analysts said that other potential suitors or partners for T-Mobile are unlikely to make a move. Those include French telecom group Altice, which last week unveiled plans to buy a $9.1 billion for a controlling interest in U.S. cable operator Suddenlink Communications. Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), which was thwarted by regulatory opposition in its own bid for Time Warner Cable, is also seen as a potential--if unlikely--suitor for T-Mobile.

"For Comcast, an outright purchase of a wireless network is possible, but likely premature at this point; we believe the company is likely to focus on returning capital to shareholders in the near-term," the analysts wrote.

The most likely scenario, the analysts wrote, is that T-Mobile will remain independent for the next year, or that Dish will strike a deal for T-Mobile at around $40 per share if it can persuade T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom on the financing of the deal.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges said last week the company will consider any partnership for T-Mobile that can improve profitability at the carrier. Hoettges said at the company's annual shareholders meeting that T-Mobile, which Deutsche Telekom still has a 66 percent stake in, is in much better shape today than it was two years ago when it started its "uncarrier" initiative.

"But it is our duty to go on improving the return on T-Mobile US," he said, according to Reuters. "If we find a partner who will help us to do so, we will obviously consider it."

Lately T-Mobile executives have been more open about the possibility of working with another company, and not even necessarily another wireless carrier. Dish CEO Charlie Ergen has also been complimentary of T-Mobile and its management team.

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