T-Mobile stocks were up more than 3.5 percent Tuesday following comments from Liberty Media Chairman John Malone hinting that big cable could buy the Un-carrier.
Addressing attendees at Lionsgate’s inaugural investor conference, Malone discussed the possibility of more lax regulation under President-elect Trump’s administration and noted that could open up new merger and acquisition avenues for cable players.
“Maybe the three major cable companies get together and buy T-Mobile,” Malone said, following with the comment that “One could contemplate in a Trump administration Comcast and Charter could merge."
However, it’s unclear whether T-Mobile would go gentle into that good night.
In a set of predictions for 2017 unveiled at CES during T-Mobile’s NEXT Un-carrier event last week, CEO John Legere declared T-Mobile would not lend any part of its network to a big cable player looking for an MVNO deal. Additionally, Legere predicted the failure of cable players trying to make a wireless play.
“I predict big cable will have their asses handed to them and will be in full retreat from their MVNO strategy by the end of the year,” Legere said.
As far as T-Mobile goes, any speculation around a merger will remain just that – speculation – at least until the end of the FCC’s ongoing spectrum auction since participants are barred from entertaining partnership or merger talks while the proceedings are under way.
The Stage 4 forward auction is slated to begin next week, but an additional stage may be required before forward auction bidders manage to hit the clearing cost set in the reverse auction. BTIG’s Walter Piecyk has estimated a potential Stage 5 of the proceedings could wrap up by mid-March.