T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal clears regulatory hurdle

T-Mobile-MetroPCS deal clears last regulatory hurdle, shareholder raises more questions

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications Inc., the No. 4 and No. 5 cellphone carriers in the country, on Thursday said they received the last regulatory clearance necessary for their merger.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States told the companies on Wednesday that it found no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the merger. The Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission have also given the go-ahead.

MetroPCS shareholders are set to vote on the deal on April 12, and the outcome is uncertain. The largest shareholder, billionaire John Paulson, opposes the deal because he believes the combined company would have too much debt. Deutsche Telekom is getting a better deal than MetroPCS's shareholders, he said.

On Thursday P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, with nearly $100 million in MetroPCS shares under management, sent out a statement with a number of questions for MetroPCS management. PSAM asks the company if MetroPCS' record third-quarter results were taken into account in the valuation. Together, they suggest that PSAM believes MetroPCS shareholders are getting a poor deal, but the investment firm stopped short of saying shareholders should vote against it.

MetroPCS didn't immediately respond to the letter.

T-Mobile USA's parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany, will hold a 74 percent stake in the combined company, while shareholders of Dallas-based MetroPCS will own the remainder. MetroPCS shareholders will also receive a special dividend totaling about $1.5 billion.

MetroPCS has told shareholders the deal is the best strategic alternative for them and the stake in the combined company is worth substantially more than the stand-alone company.

MetroPCS shares rose 5 cents to $10.62 in midday trading.

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