NEW YORK Jan 16 Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG
has transferred ownership of its 67 percent stake in
T-Mobile US to a Dutch holding company from a German
holding company, fueling speculation it may be looking to sell
the U.S. business.
Deutsche Telekom said on Thursday it made the transfer as
part of a larger internal restructuring to simplify its business
structure, and that it should not be interpreted as anything
The move, which was quietly disclosed to U.S. regulators on
Wednesday, follows reports that Japan's SoftBank Corp
is looking to buy No. 4 U.S. mobile operator T-Mobile US to
merge it with Sprint Corp, which 80 percent owned by
SoftBank, and that satellite TV provider Dish Corp is
also considering buying T-Mobile.
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said in a research note that
Deutsche Telekom could be transferring ownership for tax reasons
related to a potential sale of the U.S. asset, which it already
tried to sell to AT&T Inc in 2011.
"The Netherlands offers favorable tax treatment on asset
sales," Piecyk said, noting that Vodafone Group Plc
holds its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless in the
Netherlands and is expected to have a very "tax-efficient"
transaction as a result.
But Piecyk noted that a Sprint-T-Mobile merger may be
blocked by U.S. regulators worried about the elimination of one
of four national wireless operators.
Deutsche Telekom said in the filing it had transferred the
stake to Deutsche Telekom Holding B.V. in the Netherlands from
T-Mobile Global Holding GMbH as part of an internal
The German company said it is also transferring ownership of
Hungarian and Czech assets to the Netherlands as part of its