Report: France's Iliad talking to Dish, Cox, Charter to help sweeten T-Mobile bid

Suspecting that Deutsche Telekom will reject its $15 billion offer for T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), French telecom company Iliad is reportedly in talks with U.S. pay-TV companies about a sweetened joint bid.

In an exclusive report filed Tuesday, Aug. 5, Reuters cited three anonymous sources as saying Iliad had discussed its proposal with Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and Cox Communications, which all might be interested in a joint bid that would let the carrier enter the U.S. mobile communications market.

So far, none of the parties involved have publicly commented on this.

Pay-TV operators have been seeking entry into the wireless business for more than a decade--a gambit that has included such failed efforts as Pivot, a joint venture that combined the forces of Sprint with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications and Brighthouse Networks.

Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has made no secret of his desire to get into the wireless business. In 2013, for example, he conducted a brief but ultimately unsuccessful bidding war with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son over control of Sprint (NYSE: S). Ergen later said he'd be interested in buying T-Mobile if Sprint was unable to acquire it. 

Meanwhile, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge told investors in March that he sees opportunities within the next five years for his MSO to offer a broadband product that would rely on both unlicensed spectrum such as Wi-Fi and licensed spectrum that the company could purchase.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that Iliad is trying to gain access to T-Mobile's key financial data so that it can render a formal bid for the company. The Journal also reported that T-Mobile plans to reject that information request, with an unnamed source telling the paper the bid will be "dead on arrival."

It had been earlier reported that Deutsche Telekom does not consider Iliad's $33-a-share offer for a 56.6 percent stake in T-Mobile competitive. A separate bid for T-Mobile of $40 a share that was to be rendered by Sprint parent SoftBank never materialized. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Sprint has abandoned its pursuit of T-Mobile.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ article
- see this Bloomberg article

Related links:
Analysts: The benefits of an Iliad/T-Mobile deal are hard to see 
Analysis: Iliad's $15B bid for control of T-Mobile puts pressure on SoftBank, Sprint to make a deal
France's Iliad makes $15B bid to purchase majority of T-Mobile US