Tuesday, February 11, 2020

T-Mobile Sprint Deal Done – Integration

Now that the T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint has been blessed, when will integration start? As we all know it’s been a lengthy journey since the $26B deal’s announcement in April 2018.  In September 2018, T-Mobile announced Sunit Patel to head merger and integration efforts.

Flash forward to February 2020, while T-Mobile and Sprint could not work closely on integration efforts, they’ve had a long runway in planning. Here are the key integration areas in my view:

1.     Executives and employees:  Like in most mergers and acquisitions, people are the first to come to mind. It’s almost certain that the acquiring company will win out in the executive suites. Overlapping areas such as human resources, marketing, engineering, operations and retail are likely to have been gamed out already, with few refinements.   The big if is making good on the promise that the acquisition/merger will be job accretive.
2.     Physical headquarters: It’s no secret that T-Mobile has expanded and updated their Bellevue spaces while Sprint’s offices, including the Overland Park campus has contracted.  Similar to competitors AT&T and Verizon, key executives will be expected to relocate to the Bellevue power center.
3.     Suppliers: Mergers always take a toll on suppliers. That is if they sold to two, now they’ll sell to one.  Invariably, that is part of the synergies calculation – suppliers may see reduced revenue because the new company will have better buying scale (on top of Softbank and DT added to the equation). However, since Sprint was cost cutting, there could be some spending bumps down the line.
4.     Infrastructure: T-Mobile has always highlighted the faster than usual of MetroPCS.  That is the decommissioning of their CDMA, repurposing the spectrum and lowering overlapping operational costs.   Indeed, Sprint is still on CDMA and it’s a strategic imperative to move those users (direct subs & wholesale partners) off so they may take advantage of PCS and move the 800 to DISH. 
5.     Distribution: While Sprint has been contracting their distribution, T-Mobile made commitment to expanding its doors.  Where there is overlap (i.e., T-Mobile and Sprint retail within a block or two), those retail shops could be sold to DISH as they will need to have postpaid retail presence beyond its prepaid Boost locations.   

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the new T-Mobile integration will hit the ground running this week as the plans have already been put in place.  I’d expect some of the areas I touched on above (e.g., headcount/org chart/exit packages) will be announced within a week or week and a half, if not sooner.