T-Mobile

As corporate deals go, it was not straightforward. Nothing plain vanilla about it. It was, though, according to Refinitiv, the biggest secondary stock offering of a somewhat bruised 2020. There were offers of common stock, mandatory convertibles, and a rights offer. The banks involved could also push a bit more out of the kiosk, via the greenshoe, should demand be tailing around the block. The company doing the selling was, drum roll, T-Mobile, and once the dust had settled and the fur smooth, it appeared the deal had raised Softbank, the Japanese group, a cool $20bn. That $20bn appears to be earmarked for some debt relief and the buying back of its own deeply discounted shares, helping to cool the air a little with some itchy activist investors. Now before the deal priced T-Mobile was trading at a record high, after a 30%+ move year-to-date. Investors have done well given the hair raising straight down-straight up COVID rollercoaster of the wider market. Whilst the structure of the deal was a surprise, that Softbank were exiting, was not. This has been well flagged. In addition, whilst Softbank Group was selling down, Marcelo Claure, the Softbank Group COO no less, was taking a personal stake to the tune of a not, insignificant, $500m. Claure, for those not-in-the-know was previously the CEO of Sprint, so likely knows a thing or two about the opportunities in the telecom sector. The good news for investors who have enviously watched the share price rise and have run the numbers on cost cutting and a margin that looks strangely light relative to AT&T and Verizon, is that the T-Mobile line of stock has just become more liquid. Softbank had specific reasons for selling down, just as Claure had his own reasons for buying a stake worth $500m. Or half a billion. However it’s cut, alignment remains.