Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen has reached out to Deutsche Telekom to express interest in buying its majority stake in T-Mobile, according to Bloomberg, which cites sources with "knowledge of the matter."
Bloomberg says Ergen approached Deutsche Telekom after its talks to combine T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) with Sprint (NYSE: S) broke down in August. No formal offer has been made at this point.
According to the report, Ergen told Deutsche Telekom, which owns about two-thirds of T-Mobile, that he may be interested in a deal after the November FCC auction of spectrum is completed. Ergen publicly told investors during Dish's second-quarter earnings call in August that the auction will a vital indicator as to the value of Dish's acquired spectrum assets, and thus determine how the company enters the wireless business.
"If the auction goes for low price, we'll probably end up with a lot more spectrum," he said. "If it goes for high price, we won't end up with a lot, but the high price will end up enhancing our balance sheet."
Ergen added, "Our dream would be to compete in the [wireless] marketplace, bring a better product to consumers, be disruptive, be innovative and enhance video business we're in today."
As Bloomberg notes, Deutsche Telekom has incentive to wait for Dish. The company has watched T-Mobile's value increase 24 percent in the last year, and Dish is seen as a regulator-friendly buyer, given it won't alarm antitrust officials in the same way, say, Sprint might.
Dish has had, of course, a number of other talks about acquiring T-Mobile. It was reported in early August, for example, that French telecom Iliad contacted Dish about joining its bid to buy the wireless company.
- read this Bloomberg story
- read this FierceWireless story
Report: France's Iliad talking to Dish, Cox, Charter to help sweeten T-Mobile bid
Ergen: Video is vital to wireless industry Dish is determined to join
Iliad remains open to improving its bid for T-Mobile U.S.