The shock $15 billion offer by Iliad for T-Mobile US is set to be rejected by the U.S. telecoms group having failed to meet the value put on the business by Germany's Deutsche Telekom.
The offer has been considered by the board of T-Mobile US, which has so far only acknowledged receipt of the offer from Iliad last week, Daniel Thomas, Arash Massoudi and Ed Hammond report. The rejection of the offer by T-Mobile US could come as early as tomorrow, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
Deutsche Telekom viewed the $33-a-share offer from Iliad as too low given ongoing negotiations with Softbank, according to people close to the talks, which has offered about $7 more per share for a controlling stake in T-Mobile US. Deutsche Telekom is the largest shareholder in T-Mobile US with about two-thirds of shares.
The Japanese group wants to merge T-Mobile with Sprint, which it acquired last year, and reduce the number of major competitors in the U.S. telecoms market from four to three.
The decision will in effect turn down the offer of certain money at a lower value for a higher price but with the prospect of a protracted and potentially futile attempt to address the antitrust concerns of the U.S. regulator.
One person described the opportunistic "bird in the hand" approach by Iliad as unappealing to Deutsche Telekom given the advanced negotiations with Softbank over its stake in T-Mobile.
He added that the Iliad offer was uncompetitive given the alternative offer on the table although he admitted that the French group could come back with a higher offer.
However, analysts downplay the prospect of a bidding war—instead comparing the offer to the low, opportunistic approach that Iliad made to Bouygues for its telecom business in France in recent months.
T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom declined to comment.
—By The Financial Times.