by Christopher Freeburn | July 15, 2013 9:47 am
Shares of Leap Wireless (LEAP) more than doubled in Monday trading, rising over 114%, after the pre-paid wireless carrier said that it would be acquired by the nation’s second largest wireless carrier.
AT&T (T) will purchase Leap in a deal worth $1.19 billion, paying $15 a share for the pre-paid carrier, which has five million subscribers to its Cricket service brand, the Associated Press notes.
The acquisition allows AT&T to bolster its own pre-paid wireless services. Leap Wireless also holds wireless spectrum rights in parts of the country covering 41 million consumers. AT&T can use Leap’s unused wireless spectrum for its own networks.
AT&T will continue to operate the Cricket brand, but will add additional AT&T services. The merger is expected to be completed in between six and nine months, if telecommunication regulators approve it.
The deal comes as Leap Wireless has seen falling subscriber and revenue numbers in its most recent quarter. The company has $2.8 billion in debt.
Shares of AT&T slipped almost 1% in Monday morning trading.
Earlier this year, rumors circulated that Verizon (VZ) was planning a $100 billion bid to acquire Vodafone‘s (VOD) minority stake in Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest wireless carrier.
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