AT&T purchase of Leap Wireless brings Cricket under new ownership

AT&T has announced that it will be acquiring Leap Wireless for the hefty sum of about $1.19 billion, something that will bring the prepaid service Cricket under its ownership. The move still needs to be approved by regulators, but one source who spoke to The Wall Street Journal states that there are "pretty good" odds it will go through.

The announcement was made by AT&T today, with the carrier paying $15 per share for the company, more than double its current stock price of $7.98 per share. Leap Wireless is currently the sixth largest company in the industry, while AT&T holds position as fourth out of the four major U.S. carriers. Such a merge, as many have pointed out, will further centralize the wireless carriers in the country.

Leap Wireless currently has in excess of 5 million subscribers, all of which will be transitioned under AT&T's wing if the merger goes through. As part of the acquisition, the buyer will be taking over Leap's wireless spectrum, boosting its 4G rollout, as well as the carrier's retail stores and its substantial $2.8 billion worth of debt.

In addition, AT&T will be retaining the Cricket name while giving those users access to its 4G network, as well as expanding service under Cricket to additional US markets. Overall, Leap will bring with it spectrum that covers approximately 137 million people in the US, which is said to be "largely complementary" to what it already has.

Such a move comes at a time when other carriers have been involved in various acquisitions, such as T-Mobile US taking over MetroPCS earlier this year, as well as SoftBank Corporation nabbing Sprint Nextel. Presently, AT&T has about 107 million subscribers.

SOURCE: Android Community