T-Mobile is buying Mint Mobile, the budget-friendly mobile carrier that’s partially owned by Ryan Reynolds. In a post published on Wednesday, T-Mobile announced that the deal’s valued at up to $1.35 billion and comes as T-Mobile looks to build out its prepaid phone offering.
The acquisition should close later this year and involves a 39 percent cash and 61 percent stock purchase of Mint’s parent company, Ka’ena Corporation. The price could change, however, as it depends on Mint’s performance.
Once the deal closes, Mint founders David Glickman and Rizwan Kassim will join T-Mobile to continue managing the brand, which T-Mobile says “will generally operate as a separate business unit.” Meanwhile, Reynolds will also remain a part of Mint’s branding, as T-Mobile says he will “continue on in his creative role on behalf of Mint.”
“I never dreamt I’d own a wireless company and I certainly never dreamt I’d sell it to T-Mobile,” Reynolds said in a tweet. “Life is strange and I’m incredibly proud and grateful.”
As noted by T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday, T-Mobile will retain the price of Mint’s cheapest phone plan at $15 per month. The deal also includes Ka’ena’s other companies, including Ultra Mobile, a prepaid carrier that offers international calling, and Plum, a wholesale wireless solutions provider.
The acquisition could let T-Mobile claw back the customers it lost when it sold Boost Mobile
Reynolds first bought an ownership stake in Mint in 2019 and has since been serving as the brand’s ambassador. Mint, which offers cheap prepaid plans, is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that already offers service over T-Mobile’s network. By purchasing Mint, T-Mobile may be looking to claw back the customers it lost when it sold Boost Mobile to Dish as part of its merger with Sprint.
“Over the long-term, we’ll also benefit from applying the marketing formula Mint has become famous for across more parts of T-Mobile,” Sievert says. “We think customers are really going to win with a more competitive and expansive Mint and Ultra.”
This certainly isn’t the first company that T-Mobile has acquired. T-Mobile began considering an acquisition of Mint Mobile in January, according to a report from Bloomberg, and has bought out some of its rivals over the course of several years. In 2013, it acquired budget carrier MetroPCS and, most notably, announced its plans to merge with Sprint in 2018 for $26 billion.
The merger faced heavy regulatory scrutiny before the deal was finally allowed to proceed in 2020. And even after the merger went through, it continued to draw criticism after California regulators accused T-Mobile of lying to get the deal approved, while a 2021 report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that the merger actually eliminated jobs — rather than adding them as previously promised. There’s also the fact that T-Mobile has been the victim of several data breaches and hacks over the years, which isn’t exactly reassuring for the Mint customers that will soon be under the T-Mobile umbrella.