T-Mobile Will Pay Up to $1.35B for Mint Mobile Owner Ka’ena
March 17, 2023
T-Mobile has agreed to purchase Ka’ena Corp., whose subsidiaries include the Mint Mobile prepaid wireless brand in which actor Ryan Reynolds holds a 25 percent stake, in a deal worth up to $1.35 billion. Terms of the agreement include celebrity spokesman Reynolds continuing in his creative role at Mint, while co-founders David Glickman and Rizwan Kassim remain onboard to manage the brands, which include the Ultra Mobile international wireless offering and wholesaler Plum. Under Glickman and Kassim those adjuncts “will generally operate as a separate business unit,” according to T-Mobile.
The sale is expected to close later this year at an actual price determined by Ka’ena’s performance during certain periods before and after the closing, T-Mobile said in an announcement specifying a combination of 39 percent cash and 61 percent stock.
“Mint has built an incredibly successful digital direct-to-consumer business that continues to deliver for customers on the Un-carrier’s leading 5G network and now we are excited to use our scale and owners’ economics to help supercharge it — and Ultra Mobile — into the future,” T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said, referencing his company’s “Un-carrier” branding.
“On social media, Reynolds shared a video (produced by his Maximum Effort advertising and production company) featuring Sievert,” Variety reports. “‘Nice to have a new dad!’ Reynolds exclaims at the end of the clip after he hugs the T-Mobile chief executive.”
Reynolds has become the face of Mint’s marketing. “At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the ‘Deadpool’ star left a voicemail for users informing them that the company had given them unlimited free data,” CNBC reports. The actor’s investment holdings include UK soccer club Wrexham and Aviation American Gin, sold in 2020 to Diageo for about $610 million, with Reynolds maintaining an ongoing ownership stake.
As for the Ka’ena deal, it “will allow T-Mobile to tap a larger share of the pay-as-you-go customer base, whose numbers are expected to swell as credit-challenged people shy away from hefty monthly bills,” writes CNBC, adding that “it will also provide a boost to T-Mobile’s business at a time when promotions from rivals Verizon and AT&T have driven up its churn rate, which refers to the percentage of customers who stop using a service.”
“T-Mobile said it will maintain Mint Mobile’s current pricing plans, which start at $15 per month for unlimited talk and text and up to 4GB of data/month,” according to Variety. “Mint Mobile is the best deal in wireless and [this] news only enhances our ability to deliver for our customers,” Reynolds added.
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