MetroPCS Faces Investor Backlash Over T-Mobile Merger3:45 PM EST Tue. Oct. 16, 2012
MetroPCS shareholders have filed a lawsuit in a bid to block the pending merger between MetroPCS and T-Mobile, arguing that their share in the deal has been "drastically undervalued."
The lawsuit, which has been filed in Dallas, Texas, is against MetroPCS, T-Mobile USA and T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom, according to a report Tuesday from CNET, which cites TmoNews, a T-Mobile-specific news site. MetroPCS investors are claiming they have been cheated by the deal, with financial benefits falling overwhelmingly into the hands of Deutsche Telekom and MetroPCS' board of directors.
"The process leading to the proposed acquisition was tainted by conflicts, tilted towards T-Mobile and driven entirely by the board and company management, who together control 15.4 percent of PCS' outstanding stock and seek liquidity for their illiquid holdings," the shareholder complaint says, according to TmoNews.
A MetroPCS spokesperson did not comment on the specifics of the suit, but told CRN that the company "intends to vigorously defend itself against these lawsuits."
T-Mobile declined to comment.
The deal, which was announced on Oct. 3, would grant Deutsche Telekom a 74 percent stake in the combined T-Mobile-MetroPCS entity, with MetroPCS holding a 26 percent stake and paying out $1.5 billion to its shareholders. Pending regulatory approvals, the deal is slated to close within the first half of 2013.
MetroPCS shareholders, according to TmoNews, are alleging that the company's upper management will receive millions of dollars in change-of-control payments that "serve their own financial interest." The claim also suggests the deal was designed to exclusively grant an ownership stake to Deutsche Telekom, with competing bids having been blocked out.
The merger, according to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, is poised to facilitate T-Mobile's adoption of the latest 4G LTE networks and make it a more serious telecom competitor to U.S. market leaders Verizon and AT&T.
"The combination with MetroPCS is another logical and significant step that will accelerate our Challenger Strategy and enable us to deliver amazing, affordable and trusted 4G services, while providing opportunities to expand geographic territories and serve more customers," Legere said in a statement, announcing the deal earlier this month.
TmoNews said a hearing date for the lawsuit has not yet been set.
PUBLISHED OCT. 16, 2012