Sol Trujillo Seeks Buyout of no.4 US Telco T-Mobile

By Grahame Lynch


Former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo looks set to re-enter the telecommunications industry in a big way— according to Bloomberg, he is working to facilitate a private equity buyout of American no 4 national mobile phone operator T-Mobile.


Bloomberg had reported its sources said that although Trujillo has so far been unsuccessful in securing an investor, he has held talks with Blackstone Group and KKR & Co about bidding for all or part of T-Mobile USA.


T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom is apparently open to a sale of the US operation as it needs cash to invest in its European assets. T-Mobile made an unsuccessful attempt to merge with AT&T last year but the firm is still believed to be worth US$30 billion or so.


Trujillo is attempting one of the largest private equity buyouts in history. Interestingly, the Bloomberg report also said Trujillo has also been gauging private equity interest in buying US number-three cellco Sprint Nextel. The former US West and Telstra CEO declined to comment to Bloomberg.


Trujillo had a 5 year stint at the helm of Telstra until 2009, the consequences of which are still being seen today following his decision to prioritise investment in 3G and play hardball with the Federal government over what he said were regulatory disincentives for it to build a national FTTN network.


Three and a half years on, Telstra’s dominance in mobile has increased and the Federal government has assumed the load for fixed broadband investment, offering Telstra a compensation deal for its effective separation. In that time Trujillo has laid low, concentrating on board directorships at Target, the Promerica Bank of Los Angeles, where he is vice chairman; China’s Silk Road Technologies, where he is chairman; and Weather Investments. He also chairs a firm called Garcia Trujillo Holdings that provides management consulting and investment services in the Hispanic business arena. – 

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