“I wasn’t a very good poker player but when a bunch of drunken fools were throwing money around occasionally I was able to pick up the pot at the end of the day.”
Those are the words of Dish Chairman, Charlie Ergen, on his approach to the possibility of bidding for T-Mobile or DirecTV. Dish doesn’t “have the kind of money to go outbid Sprint for T-Mobile or outbid AT&T for DirecTV,” he stated. “My recommendation to our board would probably be let’s see what happens.”
And, while comparing Sprint and AT&T to drunken poker players throwing money around won’t win him any friends, there is some sense to his reasoning. Clearly Dish can’t compete, and so if someone buying out DirecTV or T-Mobile is inevitable, they won’t lose anything by waiting. That said, T-Mobile is of “strategic interest” to Dish. At least, according to Ergen, if government regulators block the rumored Sprint/T-Mobile merger.
For me, Ergen’s comments raise one question: If Sprint can has found it tough raising the $29 (approximately) required to fund a buyout of DT’s controlling stake in T-Mobile US, and Dish can’t compete with that, how will it afford a bid if the merger doesn’t go through? Is it hoping that TMUS’ market cap drops following a failed bid, giving them opportunity? Is a merger with Dish even worth thinking about?
Just for the sake of these stories stopping for a while. Wouldn’t it be great if Tim Hoettges came out and said T-Mo wasn’t for sale?