FCC approves T-Mobile - MetroPCS deal, deems the merger will 'serve the public interest'

FCC head Julius Genachowski has made it official: Deutsche Telekom can proceed with its acquisition of MetroPCS. News of the planned mobile marriage first arrived this past October, setting the stage for a more competent wireless carrier alternative in the US -- an arrangement that would also give DT a majority stake (74-percent). Now, with regulatory hurdles firmly out of the way, this newly created corporate entity (which will assume the T-Mobile US branding) will be able to combine all PCS, AWS-1 and 700MHz spectrum licenses across 248 Cellular Market Areas.

Citing the competitive benefits it would achieve on "both the local and national levels," the commission's given a thumbs up to the transaction, noting that any potential service overlaps or public interest harm are outweighed by the possibility of a greater LTE buildout and the "deployment of a more robust, national network" for the nation's number four operator. According to the terms of the deal, both MetroPCS and T-Mobile will retain their branding and continue to operate as separate business units in their respective markets, with the potential to expand their reach. All that's left now is for MetroPCS shareholders to vote on the deal next month, giving it the final sign off. FCC chair Genachowski has issued a statement extolling the virtues of the deal, which you can find just after the break.

Update: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski had this to say about the merger:

"With today's approval, America's mobile market continues to strengthen, moving toward robust competition and revitalized competitors. We are seeing billions more in network investment, while the courts have upheld key FCC decisions to accelerate broadband build-out, promote competition, and benefit consumers, including our broadband data roaming and pole attachment rules. Today's action will benefit millions of American consumers and help the U.S maintain the global leadership in mobile it has regained in recent years.

"Mobile broadband is a key engine of economic growth, with U.S. annual wireless capital investment up 40% over the last four years, the largest increase in the world, and few sectors having more potential to create jobs. In this fast-moving space, of course challenges remain, including the need to unleash even more spectrum for mobile broadband and continuing to promote competition and protect consumers. The Commission will stay focused on these vital goals."

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T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Announce FCC Approval of Proposed Combination

Mar. 12, 2013
2013-03-12 16:20:57

Bonn, Germany; Bellevue, WA; and Richardson, TX (March 12, 2013) – Deutsche Telekom AG (XETRA: DTE; "Deutsche Telekom"), T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("T-Mobile") and MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS; "MetroPCS") today announced that the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has approved the proposed combination of T-Mobile USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, and MetroPCS.

"The FCC's approval marks another significant milestone in bringing our two companies together, and we appreciate the Commission's timely approval. We look forward to completing the transaction and delivering the significant customer and stockholder benefits that this combination will make possible," said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile. "Our combined company will have the products, spectrum, scale and resources to shake up this industry and deliver an entirely new wireless experience."

"We are pleased with the FCC's approval of the proposed transaction," said Roger D. Linquist, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of MetroPCS. "We thank the FCC for its prompt review of our proposed combination with T-Mobile, which will create the value leader in the United States wireless marketplace."

On March 5, 2013, MetroPCS announced that the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 had expired. The proposed combination remains subject to the approval of MetroPCS stockholders.

A Special Meeting of MetroPCS stockholders to vote on matters relating to the proposed combination of MetroPCS with T-Mobile has been scheduled for April 12, 2013. MetroPCS stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 11, 2013 are entitled to vote at the Special Meeting. The combination is expected to close shortly after the Special Meeting.

The MetroPCS board unanimously recommends that stockholders vote their shares FOR all of the proposals relating to the proposed combination with T-Mobile by returning the GREEN proxy card they will receive in due course with a "FOR" vote for all proposals. The failure to vote or an abstention has the same effect as a vote against the proposed combination. Because some of the proposals required to close the proposed transaction require at least an affirmative vote of a majority of all outstanding shares, MetroPCS stockholders' votes are important. If stockholders vote against the proposed combination, there is no assurance that MetroPCS will be able to deliver the same or better stockholder value.

The Company urges stockholders to discard any white proxy cards, which were sent by a dissident stockholder. If a stockholder previously submitted a white proxy card, the Company urges them to cast their vote as instructed on the GREEN proxy card, which will revoke any earlier dated proxy card that was submitted, including any white proxy card.