Mutual Fund manager pushes for sale of U.S. Cellular
Trying to get U.S. Cellular management to take actions that would lead to a hike in the stock price, Gabelli took the carrier's Chairman, LeRoy Carlson Jr., to meet with several hedge funds in an effort to convince Carlson to sell the company. The Chairman, a member of the family that founded U.S. Cellular, reportedly is not interested in selling. The regional carrier serves 5 million subscribers in markets like Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Back in late 2007, Verizon offered $100 a share for Telephone and Data Systems, the aforementioned company holding that large stake in U.S. Cellular. TDS turned down Big Red and the shares closed Friday at $26.31.
At this point, it doesn't appear that the family controlled U.S. Cellular will be purchased. More likely is the rumored transaction that has T-Mobile and Sprint combining in order to give Verizon and AT&T more competition in the industry. A merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been rumored every few months with analysts usually expecting the FCC and FTC to reject such a deal. However, the regulatory climate has seemingly improved enough that a combination of the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers might be viewed as a positive for U.S. consumers.