T-Mobile recently disclosed its plans to purchase Ka’ena Corporation and its subsidiaries, including the prepaid wireless brand Mint Mobile.
The giant U.S. wireless network operator announced plans for the $1.35 billion acquisition in a news release last week. It was accompanied by a video featuring Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, and actor Ryan Reynolds, a part-owner of Mint Mobile who stars in their ads.
The wireless service Ultra Mobile and wholesaler Plum are also included in the deal, which will close later this year.
Sievert explained that by joining forces, the brands will be “supercharge[d] into the future” and be able to offer more competitive pricing to consumers.
“We think customers are really going to win with a more competitive and expansive Mint and Ultra,” Sievert said.
The deal stipulates that Mint Mobile’s low monthly rates — starting at $15 per month — and marketing strategies will remain intact. Furthermore, co-founders David Glickman and Rizwan Kassim will continue to run Mint Mobile as a separate business unit while Reynolds maintains his creative role.
Mint Mobile has actually been licensing its coverage from T-Mobile and thus is not an independent network. The deal will have Mint continue using T-Mobile’s 5G network, with the carrier taking over the brand’s sales, marketing, digital, and service operations.
Customers’ reactions to the news of the acquisition have been mixed.
Mint’s “entire appeal” was “that they were a smaller company with fair prices,” read a top-rated comment on the YouTube post of the video announcing the deal, concluding, “this is exactly what we didn’t want.”
Another commenter remarked, “First, this ad was hilarious. Way to go, Ryan! Second, and on a far more serious note, I’m terrified of what this is going to do to customers as market competition continually decreases in an ever-more monopolistic America. The free market is only free if you have a choice of who to go to for goods and services.”
“Let me make this PERFECTLY CLEAR, if you raise prices, I WILL LEAVE,” read another comment.
Yet as the deal stipulates, prices shouldn’t change at Mint Mobile, and, according to Reynolds, customers will get more from its service.
“I only want the best for Mint Mobile customers. Think I’ve found it,” Reynolds posted on Twitter.
While the final price of T-Mobile’s buyout of Ka’ena Corporation will depend on its performance, it is expected to include 39% cash and 61% stock, per the news release.
Currently boasting a market share of almost 47% in the U.S., T-Mobile has a history of acquiring other companies. The most significant acquisition to date was the merger with Sprint in 2018, a deal worth $26 billion.
T-Mobile had been considering acquiring Mint Mobile since January, according to Bloomberg.