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Iliad Ends Journey to Buy T-Mobile

**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest communications mergers in Q3 2014.**

Iliad wasn’t kidding when it said it would decide in mid-October whether to keep trying to buy T-Mobile USA.

And, on Monday, the France-based service provider said it’s done attempting to acquire the fourth-largest wireless operator in the United States.

Iliad said last month it would evaluate, by the middle of October, whether to sweeten its T-Mobile bid after twice doing so or walk away.

Walk away it is.

That’s because T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom and certain T-Mobile board members “have refused to entertain [Iliad’s] new offer,” Iliad said in an Oct. 13 press release.

The first bid, submitted in late July, amounted to $15 billion in cash, or about $33 per share, for 56.6 percent control of T-Mobile. The second, achieved with the help of two private equity firms and top-tier banks, increased to $36 per share for 67 percent control.

But, to Iliad’s disappointment, T-Mobile also rejected the latest takeover attempt.

“Iliad had the ambition to accelerate T-Mobile US’ transformation, notably by saving more than $2 billion of cost annually,” Iliad said on Monday. “This transaction would have created significant value for both Iliad’s and T-Mobile US’ shareholders.”

Iliad is an upstart wireless provider in France with a colorful CEO and an aggressive growth strategy. Those factors alone appear to make the company a cultural compatriot for T-Mobile; however, it seems we’ll never know what an Iliad-led T-Mobile would have accomplished against larger rivals AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Earlier this year, Sprint abandoned its rumored plan to buy T-Mobile amid reports of regulators’ opposition to the deal.

Shares of T-Mobile were trading down on Monday afternoon.


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