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T-Mobile to acquire most of U.S. Cellular in $4.4 billion deal

Shares of U.S. Cellular popped nearly 6% Tuesday after T-Mobile announced that it plans to acquire most of the company, including the wireless operator’s stores, some of its spectrum assets and its customers in a deal worth $4.4 billion.

The deal includes cash and up to $2 billion of debt, according to a press release from T-Mobile. Up to $100 million of the deal’s cash portion depends on certain financial and operating metrics being met between its signing and closing, according to a separate press release from U.S. Cellular.

Shares of T-Mobile were up more than 1% during Tuesday’s session.

T-Mobile will acquire about 30% of U.S. Cellular’s wireless spectrum as part of the deal, according to the U.S. Cellular release. It plans to use that to improve coverage in rural areas while offering better connectivity to U.S. Cellular customers around the United States, the two companies announced. The company said it will allow U.S. Cellular customers to keep their current plans or switch to a T-Mobile plan.

Both companies said that U.S. Cellular will retain 70% of its wireless spectrum and towers and will lease space on at least 2,100 additional towers to T-Mobile. The deal will also allow T-Mobile to sign new long-term leases on at least 2,015 U.S. Cellular-owned towers and extend existing leases on about 600 others, U.S. Cellular said in its release.

This will give U.S. Cellular customers a “strong anchor tenant” for at least 15 years after the deal’s close, the company said.

The news follows T-Mobile’s $1.35 billion acquisition of Ka’ena, the parent company of Mint Mobile. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved that deal in April. T-Mobile merged with Sprint in 2020 in a deal worth $26 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in May that T-Mobile and Verizon were in talks to “carve up” U.S. Cellular’s wireless spectrum but said a deal with Verizon on a separate transaction could take longer or fall through.

The companies expect the deal to close in mid-2025.

This post appeared first on NBC NEWS

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