mergerSprintT-Mobile USUS Federal Communications Commission AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 25 SEP 2017 Author Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank tipped for T-Mobile trade Diana Goovaerts Home Sprint lobby group hire linked to T-Mobile bid Diana is Mobile World Live’s US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only… Read more T-Mobile US chief predicts market rebound Related Amazon reels in MGM Previous ArticleFairphone picks up new backers, plans expansionNext ArticleDeliveroo plots expansion after raising $385M Tags US mobile operator Sprint hired a lobbying company with ties to US President Donald Trump as it moves to work out a merger deal with rival operator T-Mobile.According to a public disclosure filed with the US Congress and first spotted by Reuters, Sprint hired Ballard Partners at the start of September to “advise and advocate for the client on general government policies and regulations.” The disclosure does not include information on how much Sprint is paying the company.Ballard Partners is far from the only lobby company Sprint hired this year. The operator also works with companies including EFB Advocacy, Fierce Government Relations, Franklin Square Group, The Fritts Group, The Cormac Group and The Raben Group. However, the addition of Ballard Partners is significant due to founder and president Brian Ballard’s ties to Trump.Why it mattersThe Ballard Partners website notes Brian Ballard was an “integral player” in Trump’s Florida campaign, serving as chairman of Trump Victory and head of the campaign’s finance efforts in the state. As a member of the Electoral College, Ballard also cast his vote for Trump. Ballard was subsequently chosen to serve as a member of the Presidential Transition Finance Committee.The hire of Ballard’s company comes in the context of Sprint’s efforts to secure a merger deal with rival operator T-Mobile. After a brief hiatus while Sprint explored other options, the pair reportedly resumed “active talks” this month. Reports last week indicated Sprint and T-Mobile are finally closing in on a deal, and Bloomberg indicated Sprint parent company SoftBank is willing to accept a stock-for-stock merger at, or near, Sprint’s current market price. CNBC reported the pair are entering the due diligence stage of negotiations and are hoping to finalise an agreement by the third week of October.Any deal between the two would have to pass regulatory scrutiny from the US Department of Justice (DoJ), which is currently manned by Trump appointees (though Trump’s antitrust nominee Makan Delrahim is yet to be confirmed). In 2011 the DoJ, under former President Barack Obama, derailed an attempted merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. Trump in the past attacked AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner, but is yet to comment on a potential Sprint and T-Mobile tie-up.The merger deal would also have to get a nod from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which would be charged with determining whether such a merger would be in the public interest. A telltale sign on which way the FCC might lean could come in the form of the commission’s wireless competition report, set to be voted on later this week.Under former chairman Tom Wheeler, the commission determined the US wireless market was not competitive despite the presence of four major carriers. The decision could change under current chairman Ajit Pai and, it if does, could be a favourable sign for a potential Sprint-T-Mobile merger.
Mr Sidler said: “I am thrilled to be offered the opportunity to share my experiences with the ambitious and successful team at SGL TransGroup. The company seems to share the same entrepreneurial spirit we fostered in Panalpina, back in the day, so I feel right at home in this environment.”He was chief executive of Panalpina between 1998 and 2006, which was then followed by a six-year stint as chief operating officer at Ceva. After 2012, he spent two years on the board at APL owner NOL.Mr Sidler holds non-executive directorships at Swiss logistics firm Bertschi and US supply chain technology platform e2log, and is chairman of Global Airlift Solutions in Switzerland. Former Panalpina CEO Bruno Sidler (pictured above) has joined the SGL TransGroup team as industrial advisor.It follows the September merger that saw Copenhagen-headquartered Scan Global Logistics and US TransGroup become one brand under CEO Allan Melgaard and executive chairman Tom Gartland.Mr Sidler will act within a newly formed advisory council, the company said.“We are delighted to have Bruno joining our team,” said Mr Melgaard. “His experience in building a global presence in our industry is unrivalled and he will add a lot of value to our plans and ambitions in growing our global platform.” By Gavin van Marle 02/12/2020