MetroPCS shareholders seek to block T-Mobile merger with lawsuit
16th Oct 2012 | 20:20
Claim deal was 'tainted by conflicts'
The deal would see T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, acquire 74 percent of MetroPCS, while the prepaid carrier's shareholders would retain 26 percent and receive $1.5 billion.
Apparently that's a bunch of sour grapes for MetroPCS's shareholders, who on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in order to block the acquisition.
According to the shareholders, the MetroPCS board of directors, which approved the deal with Deutsche Telekom, is "serving its own financial interests."
A dirty deal?
The shareholders are suing T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom, plus MetroPCS's board of directors and CEO; in other words, everyone involved.
"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," reads the suit.
According to TmoNews, the source of the original report on the lawsuit, the shareholders allege that the structure of the deal discouraged other bids, thereby ensuring that MetroPCS would go to Deutsche Telekom.
The suit claims that those involved are guilty of breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of control, gross mismanagement, corporate waste, and unjust enrichment, according to the site.
There may be something to the shareholders' claims, as at least one other carrier, Sprint, had intentions to offer a counter-bid.
But Sprint announced last Thursday that it would hold off until it could get more details about Deutsche Telekom's offer to MetroPCS.
When the merger was made official, Deutsche Telekom released a statement claiming that the deal would allow it to "deliver an enhanced customer experience through a wider selection of affordable products and services, deeper network coverage, and a clear-cut technology path to one LTE network."
Meanwhile, T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded to shareholders' complaints by saying that the deal is "about driving growth" and is necessary if T-Mobile is to compete with bigger carriers like Verizon.
If Deutsche Telekom claims that customers will benefit from the MetroPCS merger, T-Mobile's CEO claims that T-Mobile will benefit, and MetroPCS's shareholders claim the carrier's board of directors will benefit, one has to wonder who will actually come out on top if the deal goes through.
The FCC and DOJ still have to approve the merger, so the whole affair may yet be stopped in its tracks.