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Bidding War In Offing For T-Mobile?

Bellevue, Wash. – French carrier Iliad has emerged as a bidder for T-Mobile, which has also been courted by Sprint and its majority owner SoftBank.

T-Mobile acknowledged it received the offer.

Iliad, which launched service in France in 2002 with sharp pricing, bid $15 billion for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile, which is majority-owned by German’s Deutsche Telekom, the Wall Street Journal reported. Sprint reportedly plans to bid about $32 million for full ownership of T-Mobile.

Both Iliad and Japan’s SoftBank, Sprint’s majority owner, are known for disrupting their markets with aggressive pricing and promotion.

Although Iliad’s bid is lower than Sprint’s reported bid, Iliad could have an advantage in that its purchase of T-Mobile would not face the antitrust scrutiny that would face a merger of two national U.S. carriers. A Sprint/T-Mobile merger would reduce the number of national carriers to three from four.