* Shareholder vote seen in February or March
* MetroPCS CFO says 100 pct behind T-Mobile deal
* Combined company could outperform margin guidance
By Leila Abboud and Kate Holton
BARCELONA, Nov 16 MetroPCS Communications Inc
expects its shareholders to back a deal to merge with
T-Mobile USA in a vote planned for February or March,
its finance officer said on Friday.
T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, and MetroPCS said
last month that they wanted to merge their companies, creating a
stronger number four on the U.S. wireless market.
T-Mobile is seeking to catch up with market leaders Verizon
Wireless and AT&T, and third-place Sprint as
the market moves quickly to super-fast mobile Internet
Braxton Carter told a Morgan Stanley investor conference
that the group had held talks with several suitors but was now
100 percent behind the deal with T-Mobile.
He added that the combined company could outperform the
margin guidance it gave to the market because of network savings
and expansion of the Metro brand into new areas of the U.S.
Analysts and bankers have been expecting a fresh round of
consolidation in the U.S. since AT&T's bid to buy T-Mobile USA
collapsed late last year over competition concerns.
Japan's Softbank earlier this month agreed to buy a
70 percent stake in rival carrier Sprint Nextel and there
have been reports it may also look to acquire MetroPCS.
"As to other parties coming in, we had discussions with
multiple parties in the past year and half," Carter said. "I
have no way to speculate what could happen but we are 100
percent behind this transaction.
"We think it is the right transaction, and we are confident
our shareholders will approve it. There are massive synergies
from this, the creation of a value player with a multi-segment
Asked how long the T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS deal could take
to be approved, Carter replied: "It's possible that we can go
through in one round of SEC review process, but realistically it
will go through multiple rounds. We are very focused on going as
quickly as possible."
The two groups said they would file their proxy statement to
the SEC on Friday, with detailed financials for the new company
and details about other discussions that had been held with
potential buyers in the past year and a half.
Jim Alling, chief operating officer of T-Mobile USA, said he
did expect further consolidation in the U.S. market, although he
suggested that the regulatory environment would need to change
further for that to happen among the top four players.