T-Mobile US Buys Ryan Reynolds-backed Mint Mobile For $1.35B

Video Mint Mobile, the prepaid budget wireless company that counts actor Ryan Reynolds among its owners, is being bought by T-Mobile US in a deal expected to close later this year for as much as $1.35 billion (£1.1b), giving the "uncarrier" yet another prepaid offering. 

T-Mo USA, the American subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, announced the deal today in a statement in which it said it would acquire the Ka'ena Corporation and its brands Mint Mobile, which operates in the US, Ultra Mobile, a sister company that offers international calling options from the US, and wireless wholesaler Plum. 

The final price of the sale will be determined when the deal closes and is dependent on the performance of the brands between now and when the sale closes, T-Mobile said.

Reynolds bought a share in the company in 2019 and reports put his stake at between 20 and 25 percent. That would make for a pretty nice haul if the T-Mobile deal goes through. That will go down well, like the sale of Aviation Gin for $610m in 2020, where he collected a large share as co-owner of the spirits biz.

Once the merger is complete, Mint founders David Glickman and Rizwan Kassim will remain to manage the brands being purchased from Ka'ena, which T-Mobile said would generally operate as a separate business unit. Mint and Ultra won't replace T-Mobile's existing prepaid offerings, the company said, and will operate alongside them for the moment.

The tech transition the sale won't require much work at all, since Mint has operated as a virtual network operator on T-Mobile's own infrastructure since its founding in 2015.

For those wondering whether they can still count on Reynolds to produce his overplayed commercials don't worry: he'll be continuing to work in a creative capacity for Mint. 

"T-Mobile has assured me that our incredibly improvised and borderline reckless messaging strategy will also remain untouched," Reynolds said in a video that you can see below.

Youtube Video

Reynolds' production company, Maximum Effort, has been responsible for the catchy commercials Mint has produced, and will seemingly continue to produce, once T-Mobile steps in as its new owner.

"In the 3+ years [he's been involved with it], @MintMobile grew exponentially," Reynolds said in a tweet. Reynolds "never dreamt I'd own a wireless company and I certainly never dreamt I'd sell it to T-Mobile. Life is strange and I'm incredibly proud and grateful," the Hollywood star and gin star said.

A minty-fresh plug for those security holes

T-Mobile has been a popular target for cybercriminals, or at least a very soft one, and with the latest theft reported in February has been subject to six data incidents in the past five years. Millions of customer records have been stolen from T-Mobile since 2018, when two million records, including hashed passwords, were stolen from the carrier. 

Most recently, T-Mobile said someone abused an API to download the personal information of 37 million subscribers, including names, billing addresses, emails, phone numbers, date of birth, T-Mobile account numbers and more across post- and prepaid customer accounts. 

We've reached out to T-Mobile to learn how it plans to handle Mint data, but the company hasn't responded.

In the meantime, Mint Mobile customers who'll be caught up in this acquisition may want to ensure they've put all appropriate security measures in place to protect their device and account information. Ideally this was already done, as Mint hasn't exactly been unscathed by from hacker takeovers itself. ®

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