The French may be getting ready to teach Sprint
a lesson, that lesson being "You snooze, you lose." While Sprint contemplates a merger with T-Mobile
, France's Iliad just swooped in with a buyout offer of its own, which could be the beginning of a bidding war. Had Sprint been more aggressive at the onset, it could have avoided this situation.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal
, Illiad made a $15 billion cash bid for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile. It's a bit of a long shot, as Sprint's $32 billion figure
to buy T-Mobile outright is more than what Illiad is offering, though it's not just about the money.
Where Illiad's offer has an advantage is that buying a 56.6 percent stake probably wouldn't face regulatory obstacles, meaning a deal could be done quickly. It's also worth mentioning that Sprint hasn't formally offered to acquire T-Mobile, but if and when it does, it will likely face regulatory scrutiny from every angle.
"The U.S. mobile market is large and attractive," Iliad said. "T-Mobile US has successfully established a disruptive position, which in many ways, is similar to the one Iliad has built in France."
Analysts are skeptical that T-Mobile will accept Illiad's offer, though at the very least, they believe it could spur Sprint to move forward with its own buyout plans rather than risk getting in a bidding war, either with Illiad or with another suitor that might emerge.