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Ryan Reynolds could hand T-Mobile a Mint

T-Mobile US could be looking to buy Mint Mobile, the MVNO part-owned by Ryan Reynolds, according to reports.

The US mobile operator has been holding talks with Mint Mobile, Bloomberg reported, citing the usual unnamed sources close to the situation. As always, the discussions may come to nothing, they said, noting that Mint Mobile could opt to remain independent or broker a deal with another buyer.

The story comes as no surprise, given that the idea of Mint Mobile being up for sale has been floating around the industry for about the past six months. LightReading reported just that back in June, although there has been nothing official from the MVNO. In August, the New York Post named Altice as a possible buyer, but again, nothing concrete emerged.

That the next company named as a would-be buyer should be T-Mobile US is perhaps something of a surprise, since the various reports on the Mint sale suggested a fairly high price tag for a customer base that would doubtless be a drop in the ocean for the telco. Mint Mobile does not share customer numbers, and while the firm has had a lot of publicity – Reynolds bought in in late 2019 and has fronted a raft of advertising campaigns – and is doubtless performing well for an MVNO, it is still just that. A source gave the Post an indicative price tag of US$600 million-$800 million, which is no small sum.

All of that said, there are some strong links between T-Mobile and Mint Mobile which could very well make them a good fit.

The most obvious is that Mint runs on T-Mobile’s network. Over the years many a host network has snapped up a virtual player using its network, be it for a customer base boost, or to help with a segmentation strategy. This is well-trodden ground.

But more interestingly, the pair appear to share the same ethos when it comes to the US mobile market.

A quick glance at Mint Mobile’s website shows it is speaking the same language as T-Mobile. The statement “we took what’s wrong with wireless and made it right,” mainly referring to affordable pricing to give customers “an option that wasn’t big wireless,” is front and centre, while the firm’s ‘Mint vs Big Wireless’ price checker carries on that message. Mint compares itself favourably to AT&T and Verizon specifically, while making no secret of the fact that its service uses the T-Mobile 5G network. And is casual use of the vernacular mirrors that of its host to the extent that it’s almost a surprise that it does not describe itself as an un-MVNO.

While none of the above means that the two companies will strike an M&A agreement, particularly if that up to $800 million price tag is accurate, it arguably makes T-Mobile a more likely candidate than most to pick up Mint.

 

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