Deutsche Telekom expects T-Mobile USA's acquisition of MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) to close in the second quarter of next year, according to a senior DT executive.
DT CFO Timotheus Höettges said the deal will close no sooner than the second quarter of 2013, according to an interview he gave with the German newspaper Boersenzeitung. "The transaction is not likely [to] be carried out until the second quarter of 2013," he said, according to Reuters. DT had previously said the deal would close sometime in the first half of next year.
Analysts expect regulators at the FCC and Department of Justice to approve the deal since it will strengthen No. 4 carrier T-Mobile. The merger will give T-Mobile enough AWS spectrum to launch LTE on 20x20 MHz channels in some markets.
Reports have indicated that the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger will likely be approved in a relatively short period of time because the combination involves a struggling national player and a regional player instead of a massive national carrier expanding its reach with the acquisition of another national player, as was the case when AT&T (NYSE:T) tired to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion.
However, the regulatory process always carries some degree of uncertainty. Indeed, when AT&T announced its plans to acquire T-Mobile, the company predicted it would receive approval from the FCC and the DoJ. However, a range of players, especially Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and smaller carriers, worked for months to convince regulators that the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would stifle competition in the market by creating a carrier with too much market power. For its part, AT&T argued the combination would provide it with much-needed spectrum and would result in better coverage for customers.
The DoJ eventually sued to stop the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, which forced AT&T to drop its bid to acquire T-Mobile in December.
- see this Reuters article
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