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MetroPCS vote on T-Mobile merger postponed as Deutsche Telekom sweetens the deal

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T-Mobile Germany (STOCK)
T-Mobile Germany (STOCK)

MetroPCS is putting a Friday vote on the proposed merger with T-Mobile USA on hold until April 24th. MetroPCS announced the postponement today, and according to All Things D, the revised terms will reduce MetroPCS’s debt burden in the aftermath — from $15 billion to $11.2 billion. The Wall Street Journal reports that the interest rate on that debt would also be cut by half a percentage point in what T-Mobile’s German parent Deutsche Telekom called its "best and final offer." Shareholders had reportedly been prepared to reject the previous terms of the deal if it had gone to a vote as planned.

Since 2011’s failed attempt to sell T-Mobile USA off to AT&T, Deutsche has overseen a massive restructuring at the company, scrapping thousands of jobs, hiring a new CEO, adopting a major rebranding, and pursuing an aggressive LTE rollout plan to compete with the more modern networks of America’s top two carriers, AT&T and Verizon. And if the MetroPCS merger indeed goes ahead, it will give the combined company significantly more spectrum to devote to expanding LTE coverage. According to T-Mobile VP Brad Duea, the total could approach 20MHz in some markets — in comparison, both AT&T and Verizon have more than twice as many customers as T-Mobile, and neither has more than 20MHz active in any one market. The deal has already been given the go-ahead by both the FCC and the Justice Department last month, as well as both companies' boards, so aside from the upcoming shareholder vote, there's little left to stop the merger from moving forward.