In the latest in a consolidation wave that has been rolling through the media and telecommunications world in recent months, Dish Network is close to inking a merger with T-Mobile US.
The two sides are said to be in close agreement but are still hashing out final details on price and the combination of cash and stock, according to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Dish founder and chairman Charlie Ergen would be chairman of the combined company, the report said, while T-Mobile chief John Legere would serve as CEO.
On paper, the merger would be one of relative equals: T-Mobile US, which is owned by Bonn, Germany-based Deutsche Telekom, has a market capitalization of $31 billion. Dish’s is $33 billion.
A combination would also make strategic sense. Since Dish has been losing subscribers, Ergen has been under pressure to seek a merger, preferably with a company that could expand his pay-TV business into mobile.
The news comes amid an outbreak of merger-mania in the media sector. AT&T is about to close on its $49 billion purchase of DirecTV. Charter Communications’ announced plans to buy Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks for $66 billion. And Verizon recently agreed to buy AOL for $4 billion.