T-Mobile US could raise almost $2 bln for spectrum purchases


By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK, Nov 11 (Reuters) - T-Mobile US Inc announced on Monday a stock offering that could bring it almost$2 billion for spectrum purchases.

T-Mobile, the No. 4 U.S. mobile service provider, said itwould sell 66.15 million common shares, or roughly 9 percent ofits existing shares outstanding, and that it could use theproceeds to buy airwaves to bolster its network capacity forwireless data services.

Deutsche Telekom, which owns 74 percent ofT-Mobile, said on Twitter that its stake would be cut to 67percent after the sale, but that it was not selling its shares.

However, T-Mobile shares fell almost 3 percent inafter-market trading after it announced the sale, which wouldbring in $1.96 billion, based on T-Mobile's Monday closingshare price of $26.97, and includes an offer of 6.6 millionextra shares for underwriters.

T-Mobile raised concerns among some investors over dilutionof the value of its shares when it said on Nov. 5 it could raise money for spectrum in an equity offer.

Chief Financial Officer Braxton Carter said in an interviewthat day that T-Mobile would be careful to avoid significantshare dilution in an equity offering and that it could also optto take advantage of low interest rates in a debt offering.

T-Mobile declined to comment on Monday on the size or thetiming of the offering and which spectrum it might purchase.

New Street analyst Jonathan Chaplin said the timing of theoffering was surprising as he had expected T-Mobile to waituntil closer to the time of a government auction of spectrumlicenses owned by broadcasters, slated for 2014 or later.

Chaplin said the timing may mean that T-Mobile wants toraise funds ahead of a spectrum auction, which is expected to goahead in January with bidders including Dish Network and Sprint Corp.

"There is a chance that they may get involved in theLightSquared process, but this seems unlikely," Chaplin said.

LightSquared Inc, a wireless telecoms business, is inbankruptcy, and its spectrum assets are to be sold at auction,which is expected to take place in December.

So far, satellite TV provider Dish is the only company thathas publicly expressed interest in the LightSquared spectrum.

T-Mobile said on Monday that it has 728.7 million sharesoutstanding, including Deutsche Telekom's stake. Othershareholders own roughly 190 million shares.

Many U.S. mobile operators have been looking to increasetheir spectrum holdings to boost their network capacity tosupport customers who are using more and more bandwidth-hungrydata services.

T-Mobile has to push hard to regain ground after losingsubscribers for four years. It started to turn the corner withsubscriber growth in the second quarter but it needs morespectrum to keep competing well with much bigger rivals Sprint,AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless .

The company's shares fell almost 3 percent in after-the-belltrade to $26.25 after closing down 2.5 percent in the regularNew York Stock Exchange session.

T-Mobile said that Morgan Stanley, Goldman, Sachs, J.P.Morgan, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank are the jointbook-running managers for the offering.

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