NEW YORK, March 26 John Legere, the chief
executive T-Mobile USA, said he expects shareholders to approve
the company's plan to merge with MetroPCS Communications Inc
But if the deal falls through, the executive said, he would
Legere has been meeting with MetroPCS shareholders ahead of
an April 12 vote on the deal, which two activist investors are
trying to block. T-Mobile USA is a unit of Deutsche Telekom
, which would own 74 percent of the combined company.
While some investors told the executive that they are not
sure if they will vote for the deal, Legere said he has yet to
meet shareholders who had definitely decided to vote no. He
declined to say if Deutsche Telekom might sweeten its offer.
"The deal will get done," Legere told Reuters in an
interview after a press event where he unveiled T-Mobile's plans
to start selling iPhone on April 12, the same day as the vote.
While Deutsche Telekom said earlier this week that the
current deal was the best solution for both companies, some
analysts said that the German company might end up changing the
terms if shareholders appeared likely to reject the merger.
The result will likely be affected by recommendations for or
against the deal by proxy advisory firms such as Glass Lewis and
ISS, which are both expected to issue advisories this week.
But Legere said that if the vote does not work out as
planned, T-Mobile would still be in a good position.
For example, he said that new service offerings and devices
that T-Mobile unveiled this week would help it to compete
against smaller rivals MetroPCS and Leap Wireless International
"How hard would it be for me to go into MetroPCS and Leap's
markets right now to compete," the executive said. "While
they're waiting for somebody to come in and buy them, we're
going to compete."
Legere said some shareholders he spoke to had speculated
that a bigger rival like Sprint Nextel, No. 3 U.S. mobile
operator, might offer MetroPCS a better deal than Deutsche
But if the MetroPCS deal collapses, Legere argued, T-Mobile
would be a better acquisition target, because it has a much
bigger wireless network and more subscribers than MetroPCS.
"If you're waiting for a white knight to come in," he said,
"Why would you buy them and not us?"
Some analysts have questioned whether Sprint and T-Mobile
would ever be allowed to merge after U.S. regulators blocked an
effort by AT&T Inc, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service
provider, to buy T-Mobile in 2011.
But Legere said that regulators may eventually feel more
comfortable about a merger that forms a stronger No. 3 U.S.
"The ability to create a sustainable No. 3 is going to
happen," he said. "In 12 to 24 months the environment will be
different around Washington's opinion of consolidation."