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Leap Wireless gives MetroPCS the cold shoulder

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MetroPCS, the cheapo US cell phone operator, doesn't want to buy Leap Wireless anymore - because it can't get its takeover target to talk turkey. In September, MetroPCS made an unsolicited bid for its smaller rival, saying the combo would become a new national wireless carrier, covering 200 local US markets. Backtracking today, the cellco noted:

While there is widespread investor and analyst enthusiasm for a merger between the two companies, MetroPCS has not been able to engage Leap in meaningful negotiations regarding MetroPCS' merger proposal.

But not enough enthusiasm from investors, it seems, or enough stomach from MetroPCS board members, to sweeten the deal with a seller's premium, or to mount a hostile bid.

If the combination of MetroPCS and Leap is as compelling as Metro thinks, then it can only be a matter of time before two cellcos speaks as one. In the meantime MetroPCS is talking up its standalone prospects, pointing to a recent launch in US and, new market launches pencilled for the end of '08 or early '09. ®

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