November 18, 2019 / 6:49 PM / 24 days ago

Boost founder says willing to pay up to $2 billion to buy brand from Sprint

FILE PHOTO: Peter Adderton, founder of Boost Mobile, speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton is willing to pay up to $2 billion to buy back the prepaid wireless brand from Sprint Corp (S.N), he told Reuters on Monday, a significant potential premium to what satellite TV provider Dish Network (DISH.O) agreed to pay for Sprint’s entire prepaid wireless business.

U.S. regulators approved Sprint’s $26.5-billion merger with larger rival T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) in July. As a concession to regulators, the companies agreed to sell Sprint’s prepaid wireless business, which includes the Boost and Virgin Mobile brands, to Dish for $1.4 billion, as well as sell some wireless spectrum, or airwaves that carry data, to Dish for $3.6 billion.

The merger still faces a lawsuit by state attorneys general that alleges the merger is harmful to consumers.

T-Mobile and Sprint are currently re-negotiating terms of their merger agreement, which had expired on Nov. 1, providing a window of opportunity to make the offer, Adderton said.

T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere earlier this month declined to rule out requesting the $26 billion price be reduced as part of the negotiations.

Ever since the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint was announced last year, Adderton has been outspoken on Twitter that the combination would harm lower-income consumers who depend on prepaid phones, where users pay for phone service at the beginning of the month and are not required to pass a credit check.

Adderton has also questioned Dish’s commitment to serving Boost customers, as the satellite company has focused its priorities on building a next generation 5G wireless network.

Adderton originally founded Boost Mobile in his native Australia and sold its U.S. business to Nextel in 2004, which was later acquired by Sprint.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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