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March 15, 2023
The long-rumoured acquisition of MVNO Mint Mobile by T-Mobile US has completed, with an apparent premium paid to be associated with Actor Ryan Reynolds.
We reported on those rumours a couple of months ago, speculating that the price tag may be around $800 million. In the end, TMUS will shell out up to $1.35 billion in a combination of 39% cash and 61% stock to acquire parent company Ka’ena, with the deal also including wireless service Ultra Mobile and wholesaler Plum. It could end up paying less if Ka’ena fails to hit certain performance targets.
If this seems like a lot to pay for around 3 million prepaid customers, that is probably explained by the association of Hollywood superstar Ryan Reynolds. Who bought a stake in Mint Mobile a while back and fronts much of its marketing. As you can see from the recent ad below, his dry delivery offers something different from your standard CSP ad, but the announcement clip beneath it calls into question how long that approach will survive the acquisition.
“Mint Mobile is the best deal in wireless and today’s news only enhances our ability to deliver for our customers,” said Reynolds. “We are so happy T-Mobile beat out an aggressive last-minute bid from my mom Tammy Reynolds as we believe the excellence of their 5G network will provide a better strategic fit than my mom’s slightly-above-average mahjong skills. I am so proud of the entire Mint team and so excited for what’s to come.”
“Mint has built an incredibly successful digital direct-to-consumer business that continues to deliver for customers on the Un-carrier’s leading 5G network and now we are excited to use our scale and owners’ economics to help supercharge it – and Ultra Mobile – into the future,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “Over the long-term, we’ll also benefit from applying the marketing formula Mint has become famous for across more parts of T-Mobile. We think customers are really going to win with a more competitive and expansive Mint and Ultra.”
Presumably the deal compels Reynolds to hang around for a while, but we don’t know how long. The prepaid market is notoriously volatile, with subscribers free to change providers whenever the whim takes them. If we assume a large proportion of Mint subscribers are seduced by Reynold’s charms, it seems TMUS has mainly paid for him to front its marketing. But, as you can see from the videos below, Reynolds has plenty of other interests beyond movie acting, so there will be a lot of competition for his time.
As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno
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