T-Mobile is boosting its prepaid offerings. The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier announced on Wednesday that it has reached a deal to acquire Ka’ena Corporation, the parent company of prepaid wireless brands and Ultra Mobile, as well as wireless wholesaler Plum.
The deal, which could be worth “up to a maximum of $1.35 billion in a combination of 39% cash and 61% stock” according to a press release, will see T-Mobile bring the brands, which already run on its network, more directly into its operations. The actual sales price will be “based upon Ka’ena’s performance during certain periods before and after the closing,” the carrier also said in a press release.
Ryan Reynolds, Mint’s part owner and face of the wireless carrier, who frequently stars in its advertising, will also remain involved in a “creative role on behalf of Mint,” according to the T-Mobile press release. The Deadpool actor owns about one-fourth of Mint, and co-founder David Glickman tells CNET that Reynolds is staying with the company for “multiple years.”
Reynolds announced the deal in a video with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert that was posted online on Wednesday morning.
T-Mobile says it expects the deal to close later this year. Once closed, it “plans to use its supplier relationships and distribution scale to help the brands to grow and offer competitive pricing and greater device inventory” to consumers, says the release.
The wireless carrier adds that Mint and Ultra will be “complementary” to the carrier’s other prepaid options, which include Metro by T-Mobile, T-Mobile’s own branded prepaid service, and its Connect by T-Mobile brand.
Mike Katz, T-Mobile’s president of marketing, innovation and experience, tells CNET that adding Mint and Ultra to its stable of brands “allows us to have more products and more variety to more customers, and have a kind of a proposition that works for everybody no matter what they’re looking for.”
Neither T-Mobile nor Ka’ena Corporation are disclosing how many customers will be joining T-Mobile as part of this acquisition. Katz says that, because the Mint and Ultra brands are private companies, those numbers will be revealed at the end of the year after the deal closes.
As part of the acquisition, Mint and Ultra’s founders — Glickman and Rizwan Kassim — will stay on to “manage the brands.” Glickman tells CNET that Mint’s rate plans “haven’t changed and are not going to change going forward.” He also said the company has been working to add value to its offerings by including more data or international calling at the same prices, not taking things away or raising rates.
He teases that more will be coming to Mint and Ultra plans even before the T-Mobile deal closes, with a “very big announcement” coming within the next two months that he says will benefit all of its customers. “This is all about how we can continue to bring more and more value to the customer at our existing price point.”