Bloomberg and Reuters are reporting that MetroPCS shareholders have approved a deal to merge with T-Mobile USA. The approval comes after the deal received a blessing from the FCC and the Justice Department in March, and board approval from each company last October.
The merger will allow T-Mobile to expand its freshly-launched LTE network in the United States, which launched in seven cities on March 26th. T-Mobile says it expects to deliver LTE to 100 million people by mid-2013, and 200 million customers nationwide by the end of the year.
The deal was expected to close in the first half of 2013, and will move over 9 million MetroPCS subscribers to T-Mobile's GSM network. The vote on the merger was delayed in March after pressure from shareholders, but Deutsche Telekom sweetened its deal. As Reuters reports, investors were happy with the new offer, and approved the merger after threatening to vote against it. The sweetened deal will reduce MetroPCS's debts following the merger from $15 billion to $11.2 billion, and will cut the interest rate on the carrier's debt by half a percentage point.
Deutsche Telekom has overseen a huge restructuring since its failed attempt to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T in 2011, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs, the hire of a new CEO, a rebranding, and a bold LTE rollout plan. While the new entity will run under the T-Mobile banner, Deutsche Telekom could reduce its stake in the business over time, which would allow MetroPCS to take over the T-Mobile label in the US.
Update: With shareholders having voiced their approval, MetroPCS says it expects the deal with T-Mobile to be completed as of April 30th. "As a combined company, we will create the value leader in the U.S. wireless marketplace," Roger D. Linquist, MetroPCS' chairman and CEO, said in a statement.