Dish Talking To Banks About Potential T-Mobile Merger

tmodishThe romance is heating up between potential merger mates T-Mobile and Dish, with the satellite company reportedly talking to banks about putting together a bid for the magenta-hued “uncarrier.”

This is according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Dish is looking to borrow between $10-15 billion for the cash portion of its potential offer to T-Mobile.

Most of the deal would be a stock-based transaction, with T-Mobile currently valued at around $31 billion, just short of the $34 billion valuation for Dish.

As always, there’s the caution that nothing is set in stone and there’s the possibility that Dish may never make an offer for T-Mobile.

The combination of the two companies is similar to the currently pending merger of AT&T and DirecTV. It may even garner less scrutiny because while AT&T does compete with DirecTV to some degree in the pay-TV market, T-Mobile has not yet ventured beyond the wireless communications business.

Dish recently acquired a stockpile of wireless spectrum through federal auctions, but it doesn’t sell its own wireless services yet. A merger with T-Mobile would give it a purpose for this spectrum.

AT&T attempted to acquire T-Mobile in 2011, but that deal fell apart when regulators at the FCC and the Dept. of Justice raised concerns about the impact it would have on competition and rates.

In the wake of that merger collapse, AT&T had to pay T-Mobile billions in cash and spectrum which the company used to roll out an LTE network that now competes with the much larger market leaders. The company has also led the push toward consumers paying full price for their wireless devices in exchange for lower monthly data plan rates.

While T-Mobile has grown under the guidance of CEO John Legere, it still continues to battle with Sprint for the #3 spot in the U.S. wireless market, and both are far behind AT&T and Verizon.

Legere would reportedly remain as CEO of the merged companies, while Dish co-founder Charlie Ergen would be chairman of the board.