Who will buy Boost Mobile? Glad you asked. In fact, I’ve been asked this many times. So many times in fact, that I’ve decided to write a (rare) opinion post about it.
Yesterday, the FCC basically approved the Sprint / T-Mobile merger. Presuming the DoJ does the same (and there’s no guarantee there), and the merger goes through, Boost Mobile will be spun off.
I think there are 4 or 5 possible buyers, who (a) have the re$ources and (b) could want to spend it here. Here they are in no particular order:
- Peter Adderton. The founder of the brand, who still runs Boost Australia, and is the only one who has publicly said he wants to buy it.
- Any combination of the bigger cable companies (Comcast, Charter, Altice, etc.) They all took a huge dive into (or back into) wireless in the past year or so. This would give them 8000 stores and a huge presence. Obviously, this would necessitate a rebrand (either of Boost or their current brands “X” mobile – Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, etc.)
- Dish. They have a ton of spectrum that they’ve been buying but seemingly can’t decide if they want to play in the wireless space or not. This could be the opportunity they’ve been waiting for.
- Verizon. Yes, huge in wireless but “tiny” in prepaid. Do they want to go there? Another company that seems they can’t decide. Only a few MVNOs run on big red (outside most of the new cable companies wireless plays). They do “own” Visible, which is new and has been largely not so visible.
- Tracfone. Already big in prepaid (10 MVNOs already owned.) Said they wanted to expand their retail presence to 5000 stores (What’s the easiest way to open 5000 stores? Buy 8000 of them.) Certainly has the money (depending on the day, Carlos Slim is the richest man in the world, or in the top 4.) Potential Cons: (a) Foreign ownership (b) Would own a huge portion of the US Prepaid market – perhaps too much.
There’s still a long way to go. The DoJ needs to approve the merger, then it’s about 6 months for that to happen, then T-Mobile has 120 more days to find a buyer, due diligence and execute the spin off. There’s time, but it could move quickly, before Boost has new parents.
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