Cox Communications has no plans to merge with or buy T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), or rival MSOs for that matter, Cox President Pat Esser said. Reuters had recently reported that French mobile and Internet firm Iliad was working with Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Cox, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and others to improve its $15 billion offer for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile, which T-Mobile has deemed too low.
"We're not in any discussions to buy T-Mobile," Esser told Reuters. "I don't see a movement inside of our company that we feel like we have to pony up or match up with a wireless company."
Esser said privately held Cox is not looking to become a publicly traded company and that the family-owned company is not looking to buy or merge with Charter or Cablevision (NYSE: CVC). "I would never say we'll never be public in the future. But right now where the family's at, where [parent company] Cox Enterprises is at, they like being private," he said. "We have a very, very healthy balance sheet, we have a lot of capacity and we can do most of that inside of our current balance sheet and still remain private."
Esser said he thinks Cox has a bright future in offering Wi-Fi and other connectivity services, such as home security. "Wireless use of broadband is growing but it's not through traditional cellular services, it's Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is exploding," Esser said. "Wi-Fi is the future ... Connected homes are the future."
Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges said earlier this month that there are no offers on the table that value T-Mobile US more than it's currently worth as a standalone business. Sprint (NYSE: S) and its parent SoftBank abandoned pursuit of a deal with T-Mobile because of regulatory concerns days after Iliad made its offer public.
"We're open to a transaction that creates value for all T-Mobile US shareholders, compared with continuing the business on its own," Höttges said on Deutsche Telekom's quarterly earnings conference call, according to Bloomberg. "Right now, there's no such offer on the table."
Analysts have said that Iliad's bid, as it stands, is a longshot and would not create the synergies that Iliad claims it would. In any event, DT has signaled its opposition to the bid and appears intent right now on continuing T-Mobile's momentum in the U.S. market.
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said earlier this month that "to the extent that Sprint either dropped out or wasn't interested or the government wouldn't allow it or T-Mobile wasn't, then T-Mobile is something that we'd have an interest in." However, he also signaled he'd be open to partnering with Sprint, and, as ever, left his options open.
- see this Reuters article
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