Despite denial, move by Deutsche Telekom hints at imminent sale of T-Mobile US

Despite denial, move by Deutsche Telekom hints at imminent sale of T-Mobile US
Germany's Deutsche Telekom is the majority owner of T-Mobile US, and amid rumors that SoftBank controlled Sprint is about to buy the fourth largest U.S. carrier, Deutsche Telekom made a move hinting of an imminent deal. The telecommunications giant transferred its 67% ownership of T-Mobile US from a German holding company to a Dutch holding company.

But Deutsche Telekom said on Thursday that the move was part of an internal restructuring and said that nothing more should be read into the action it made. The company had alerted U.S. regulators to the shift on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a report published on Friday by the Wall Street Journal stated that at least two banks have approached Sprint, each willing to offer as much as $50 billion in financing, to be used toward the purchase of T-Mobile.

If ever a carrier was deemed to be red hot, T-Mobile would be it. With a number of consumer-friendly innovations that have been copied by the rest of the industry (albeit in diluted fashion), the once sleepy afterthought has become the darling of the industry, led by CEO John Legere. The latter doesn't look like a CEO with his longish hair and casual attire.More importantly, Legere doesn't act like a CEO as he often directs his laser like wit at the competition, usually AT&T.

As for the transfer, BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk says that Deutsche Telekom could have moved its T-Mobile holdings for tax purposes. The analyst says that the Netherlands offers favorable tax treatment on asset sales. And while Piecyk doesn't expect U.S. regulators to allow the sale of T-Mobile, the move made by Deutsche Telekom still has the look of an imminent deal, even with the latter's denial. It would appear as though Deutsche Telekom moved its T-Mobile US assets so that it will incur favorable tax treatment when it sells its stake in the stateside carrier.
source: Reuters

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