Exclusive: Iliad in talks with investors to improve T-Mobile bid - sources

Tue Aug 5, 2014 5:06pm EDT
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By Sophie Sassard

LONDON (Reuters) - French telecom firm Iliad (ILD.PA: Quote) is in talks with investors to improve its bid for T-Mobile US because it expects the parent company Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE: Quote) to reject its $15 billion offer, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Bringing in more investors would help Iliad to increase its $33 per share bid for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile TMUS.N, the No. 4 U.S. mobile operator, said the sources, who asked not to be named because the talks are private.

Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE: Quote) is currently in advanced talks with the No. 3 U.S. mobile operator - Softbank's (9984.T: Quote) Sprint, which has bid $40 a share - and is expected to reject Iliad's bid as too low, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

T-Mobile US shares rose up to 2 percent on Reuters' report.

Iliad is in talks with U.S. satellite and cable operators including Dish Networks (DISH.O: Quote), Cox Communications [COXC.UL] and Charter Communications (CHTR.O: Quote) that could be interested in a joint bid for T-Mobile as they seek to enter the U.S. mobile market, said the sources.

Iliad is also talking to infrastructure and pension funds such as Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) and sovereign wealth funds including Singapore's GIC, said the sources.

Earlier this year, GIC and OTPP demonstrated their interest in mobile investments when they agreed to back France's third mobile operator, Bouygues Telecom, in its failed bid for its domestic rival SFR, which was acquired by the French cable operator Numericable NUME.PA ATCE.AS.

Iliad's discussions with potential partners are preliminary and could still fail, two of the sources said.   Continued...

T-Mobile CEO John Legere speaks during a news conference at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in this file photo taken January 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files