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In Sprint Trial Legere of T-Mobile Shows Himself As Marrero Cites Flower Children

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 13 – After more states lining up against the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger, on which a two week trial to begin December 9 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero. Inner City Press began what will be a trial-long live-tweet, here. Day II morning here. More on Patreon here. Day III here. More D3 on Patreon here. Day IV here. More D4 on Patreon here. Day V here. More on D5 on Patreon here.

  On December 13, T-Mobile's John Legere was cross-examined and let it all hang out, see below. It culminated in Judge Victor Marrero asking him if he could remain a flower child or would instead, post merger, join the boys' club. Legere said never - but his successor Mike Sievert then looked very much the boys' club member. How will it cut with Marrero? Here's some of how it went (more on Patreon here)

Q: This is a transcript of the earnings call in February 2018, do you see that?

Legere: Yes I do.

Q: You said, "Nobody is interest in the wi-fi phone... Charter will be irrelevance squared." You said that?

Legere: Among other things.

Q: You know Mr. Mack, he's the one you took your deposition.

Legere: And I'm still afraid of him.

Q: If you could look at Exhibit 1105. And please, do not put this up on the screen. [Why not?] It's an email from you to Mr. Huttges? Legere: Correct.

 Legere: We were in contact with Washington and I would summarize it to Deutsche Telekom. Q: You're aware some companies told the FCC they were opposed to the merger, including DISH? Legere: That is correct.

 Q: And T-Mobile responded, see Exhibit 1177 - oh, it's not in your binder. Here is a hard copy. The letter T-Mobile's lawyers and DLA Piper sent to the FCC responding to DISH. Legere: Correct.

Q: And T-Mobile said DISH failed to meet FCC deadlines, games the regulatory system. Legere: And the FCC took it into account in this DISH remedy. Q: But this reflects what T-Mobile thought of DISH. Objection! [state of corporate mind] Judge Marrero: Overruled

 Q: Nothing in your commitment to FCC precludes you from changing prices on devices, correct? Legere: Yes, we could lower them. Q: But you could raise them too! It's not covered by the agreement. Legere: The agreement wasn't intended to cover it.

 Q: The quality of T-Mobile isn't consistent across the country, lower in some places, right? Legere: Yes. But we're working on that. Q: And your spectrum assets vary by market? Legere: I would assume that's true.

 Q: T-Mobile is a public company, correct? Legere: And a very successful one. Q: And you make public presentations? Legere: Very entertaining ones. Q: And you criticize Sprint? Legere: Less and less. Q: Here's your email to Huttges, about a UBS conference. You state, We will be dismissing the price war rhetoric, calling what we used to do to Sprint just pokes. Legere: Analysts fear price wars. We didn't want analysts believe there was one in the US market

 Q: So the share price was down. Legere: I've headed public companies for 20 years. I check every morning at 9:30. If it's down, I ask, What're you hearing about there. In case shareholders ask questions. Q: You said, I think it's the Sprint deal, not Kevin's note.

 Legere: I'm not sure I was referring to stock price as down. And I wasn't at the UBS conference, 3 of my people were. Q: Let's go to 980, page 3. From Clint Paterson, he forwards you a proposed release about a MetroPCS offer, letting T-Mobile customers switch over

 Q: You said you didn't want to be on the press release. Legere: We owe MetroPCS, but when you put me on it, you use the magenta brand. We're very careful about that. Q: This is from Mr. Carey. Who is he? Legere: He's in the back of the room, looks like me, EVP.

 Q: Mr. Carey was writing to you after reading a DOJ submission to the FCC, how to get further consolidation? Legere: He was advising me for an interview with the WSJ.

 Q: He says, all of this can be achieved by further consolidation below the top tier. Legere: He wrote that he was thinking out loud. Q: You said you are making AT&T irrelevant. Legere: 50% of the customers I've won are from them. Carey said irrelevant, not me

 Q: So here's your email where, after being told Sprint had made inroad in markets like Denver and SLC, you replied, "Let's hit them hard." Do you remember that? Legere: Yes.

Q: You said, I'm losing patience with Communications. Legere: I'm sure my personal communication was even stronger... None of Sprint's promotional offers have been sustainable.

Q: Here's your email about Altice- Legere: I was in Tokyo, talks with Sprint broke off Legere: It became clear to us that Altice was playing us off against each other. Q: It's clear Sprint has not been an irrelevant competitor to T-Mobile. Legere: We've been seeing 2015, let's look more recently. Q: Sprint has customers. Legere: Less that yesterday.

 Q: To millions of customers, Sprint is not an irrelevant competitor, correct? Legere: Competition in wireless is very fierce. Pomerantz: No further questions. Now re-direct: I have just a few questions about what Mr. Pomerantz asked.

 Q: I wanted to give you a change to more fully explain Legere: That's for that. For me there's two important things here. Nothing about this deal has anything to do with four to three, the exact opposite. We were in the early phase of turning around T-Mobile USA

Legere: I had to go to my board controlled by Deutsche Telekom and get funding, if they thought market was declining in value, it would be difficult. I had a think tank on my board being guided by outside consultants.

Legere: I'm a highly outspoken CEO. Sometimes they bigger they are, the more I enjoy taking them on. It was like the horde was coming and you were supposed to fear it. The cable company that you hate is buying your wireless company - great. It was a yawn.

Legere: ...We've been hearing your yapping for so long about coming in. The customers they took were mostly from Verizon, mostly by making it look like they were Verizon. Comcast and Charter, they are growing in the wireless industry.

Q: Do you see any other option for T-Mobile acquiring spectrum for 5G revolution? Legere: There are no existing alternatives, with self-funding through synergies. For Sprint there no alternative on the low band spectrum that they have. No further questions

Judge Marrero to question  John Legere . Judge Marrero: Some say Sprint today is what T-Mobile was in 2012. If T-Mobile was able to achieve this, why not Sprint, without merger?
Legere: Thank you your Honor. T-Mobile's situation was nothing compared to Sprint today   Legere: It's my opinion that except for this transaction, Sprint would be sold in part. I think they're in big trouble. Your Honor, if you'll indulge me, it this doesn't take place, Sprint will go away and there won't be a new DISH

 Legere: The environment of a new T-Mobile and a new DISH, that's best.

Judge Marrero: We see stories, about flower-children in the 1960, now you find them as investment bankers. The relevance is the idea that if T-Mobile gets this, it will become one of the boys

Legere: That's not a club I'm joining. I'm probably the person most hated by those two. And I think they compete, with the cable companies breathing down their neck. The brand of this company is rooted in being that maverick, the un carrier.

 That's it for Judge Marrero's questions to John Legere ...

Back from a largely empty 40 Foley Square due to ongoing elevator outage to find T-Mobile COO-soon-CEO bragging about how many stores they could close if the merger goes forward

 As Week 1 of  T-Mobile - Sprint  trial ends with a whimper, Judge Marrero asks who's up next. On Monday afternoon, a witness from DISH - and they say they want to close the courtroom. Really? (more on Patreon here)

On December 12 Legere first took the stand. He was wearing a black jacket and a magenta tie; he'd had to wait while a Comcast witness testified. Here's some of how it went

  Outside overflow courtroom 15B, full of a corporate lawyers, they put out a lunch spread not seen before in SDNY hallways. Money talks. But what about the merger?

  The docket does not say much. Other than an order allowing the lawyers to bring into court their laptops, the last letter was filed entirely under seal, here.  Inner City Press will have more on this, and on the CEO witnesses when they appear. More on Patreon here.

 Back on December a final pre-trial conference was held.

 Inner City Press was there, and will cover the trial. On December 6 the plaintiff states' lawyer Glenn D. Pomerantz dominated the conference, going through each of the four points in his letter to Judge Merrero and more.

  T-Mobile or Deutsche Telekom's lawyer David I. Gelfan of Cleary Gottlieb wanted more than 50% of the time alloted. Judge Marrero shot that down, saying that to him equitable means cut in half. Judge Marrero largely tried to avoid the disputes, urging the lawyers to settle their conflicts and try their cases.

 Where Judge Marrero drew the line was on timing and exhibits. He still aims at a two week bench trial, saying he's willing to go to six pm to accomplish that. He urged exhibits to be agreed in advance. He said one of the questions will be DISH.  There will be a Comcast witness. Inner City Press will cover the trial. The case is State of New York, et al., v. Deutsche Telekom AG, et al., 19-cv-5434 (Marrero).


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