French telco Iliad may up its bid for T-Mobile US

Iliad has lined up new financial backers for another run at the Uncarrier, according to Bloomberg.

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Roger Cheng
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French telecommunications provider Iliad is going to take another shot at buying the "Uncarrier" T-Mobile US.

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, speaks at an Un-carrier event in SF on September 10th, 2014. Josh MIller/CNET

That's according to Bloomberg, which reported on Thursday that Iliad is preparing another bid that would include buying a larger stake in T-Mobile, although at the same $33-a-share price it originally offered. Iliad has reportedly set a deadline for the end of this month for its pursuit of the US carrier.

Iliad emerged as a dark horse candidate after a proposed deal between Sprint and T-Mobile unraveled in the face of regulatory scrutiny and opposition. T-Mobile's parent, German telco giant Deutsche Telekom, had rejected the bid, which was for a 56.6 percent stake in the company. The interest in T-Mobile underscores the momentum that the US carrier, which is still fourth largest in the US by subscriber base, has been able to build with its Uncarrier campaign and through firebrand CEO John Legere.

Iliad, meanwhile, has successfully lined up new financial partners to sweeten its original bid. The company has held talks with private equity firm KKR & Co, Bloomberg reported, and has discussed possibly raising $5 bilion in additional stock and debt to finance the offer.

It's unclear if a new bid would appease T-Mobile's parents. Deutsche Telekom is looking for an offer of $35 a share, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

T-Mobile shares recently rose 3.4 percent to $29.08.

Iliad declined to comment. A spokesman for T-Mobile wasn't available for comment. In a previous interview with CNET, Legere said the interest in the carrier was a positive sign for T-Mobile.

"Anything you hear in the marketplace about T-Mobile is a statement we're doing something right, and they believe there's significant value in our company and our brand," he said.