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Daniel Loeb Comments on T-Mobile
Posted by: guruhl (IP Logged)
Date: January 22, 2014 01:39PM

T-Mobile (TMUS) – We had the opportunity to establish a position in T-Mobile in November when the Company conducted a secondary offering at $25. The offering represented a favorable relative valuation versus peers, enhanced by recently improved relative operating performance and an attractive EBITDA growth trajectory. 

In addition to T- Mobile's fundamental v alue proposition, the Company is strategically interesting for Sprint and potentially DISH, which has driven shares higher. The analyst community has offered mixed messages on the prospects for a merger with Sprint, indicating an unwillingness on the part of the DoJ and FCC to approve consolidation while acknowledging the significant financial and scale disadvantages Sprint and T-Mobile face and the inevitability of a combination. Perhaps the starkest examples of the reality of the U.S. wireless industry are the incredible gaps analysts expect in subscriber net additions and free cash flow between 2013 and 2015. During the same period, Sprint and T-Mobile are expected to continue to lose share on a combined basis, attracting less than 15% of industry net additions compared to their current joint subscriber market share of just under 30%. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon are expected to generate over $83 billion of combined free cash flow between 2013 and 2015, while Sprint and T-Mobile are expected to burn an unhealthy $10 billion of cash together as they cede market share. 

Some pundits have expressed concern over a merger with Sprint based on a potential supposed loss of a "maverick" in the marketplace . This view ignores Masayoshi Son's reputation as the ultimate maverick – one who would likely look to convert substantial synergies into market share gains enabled by amplifying the innovative business practices T- Mobile's dynamic management team has imported to the U.S. market (apparently from Softbank in Japan). Without a combination, Sprint and T-Mobile are expected to play out the sell-side narrative, ceding share while becoming increasingly ripe targets for the massive financial firepower of AT&T and Verizon. While the environment for legitimate business combinations faces potentially unfriendly regulatory dynamics, the combination of Sprint and T-Mobile creates the only real counterbalance to a decade-long market and profit share grab by the industry's two largest players.

 

From Daniel Loeb (Trades, Portfolio)'s Third Point fourth quarter 2013 commentary.




Guru Discussed: Daniel Loeb: Current Portfolio, Stock Picks
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