Report: MetroPCS leading pack to acquire AT&T's divested assets

MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) is the leading company to acquire assets AT&T (NYSE:T) may to divest as a condition of its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report, which cited unnamed sources, said the size of the deal is not definite yet but would likely include subscribers and spectrum. The deal's value is likely to be less than $4 billion, according to the report. Representatives from AT&T and MetroPCS declined to comment.

AT&T reached out to rivals including Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), MetroPCS and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) to discuss selling spectrum and customers, Bloomberg reported last month. The new report said that MetroPCS has emerged as a stronger contender for the assets because of its balance sheet, but that AT&T is still holding talks with Leap Wireless. AT&T has reportedly hired bankers to try and find up to $8 billion worth of asset sales to get the deal through.

MetroPCS is a CDMA carrier and AT&T and T-Mobile offer GSM services. However, both AT&T and T-Mobile own AWS spectrum, which MetroPCS is using for its LTE network buildout.

The Bloomberg report comes amid a of flurry of court filings between AT&T, Sprint and C Spire Wireless over the deal, which the Department of Justice has sued to block on antitrust grounds. All of the parties are due in court Monday. A trial date between AT&T and the government has been set for Feb. 13.

Interestingly, the report also comes after MetroPCS said Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) may offer a solution to MetroPCS' spectrum deficit. However, MetroPCS said Clearwire is just one of many options MetroPCS is currently weighing. Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Securities Leveraged Finance conference earlier this month, MetroPCS CFO Braxton Carter said the company is "uniquely positioned" to do something with Clearwire and even suggested that Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum could provide a hot spot overlay for MetroPCS in major metropolitan areas.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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