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Ryan Reynolds’ Mint Mobile, T-Mobile deal faces DOJ scrutiny


The Green Lantern may not get the green light on this mega-deal, after all.

Ryan Reynolds’ giant windfall in T-Mobile’s proposed acquisition of Mint Mobile — reportedly upwards of $270 million — may be in jeopardy as the Department of Justice probes the tie-up on antitrust concerns, The Post has learned.

Sources say the DOJ’s antitrust division is weighing a possible lawsuit to block T-Mobile’s $1.35 billion acquisition, worried that it’s part of a consolidation trend that will push prices higher for wireless customers.

The thinking behind going after Mint, according to insiders: target a high-profile celebrity deal and make an example of it.

Indeed, some regulators have a “strategy of going after public figures,” Columbia law professor and securities expert John Coffee notes. “Now, everyone in Hollywood will notice.”

It’s a time-tested strategy.

Last year SEC Chair Gary Gensler went after Kim Kardashian, collecting $1.26 million to settle allegations over a ‘pump and dump’ crypto scheme.

Mint, founded in California in 2016, is a so-called mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, meaning the company piggybacks on the infrastructure of another network — in Mint’s case T-Mobile.


Ryan Reynolds and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert
Shutterstock

Experts note it was a Republican-helmed DOJ antitrust division that sued to block the T-Mobile-Sprint deal.

Insiders say the progressives Biden appointed — who’ve let smaller deals go through — now believe they should push to be more aggressive when it comes to stopping telecom consolidation.

“Under Trump, we saw T-Mobile and Sprint consolidate, but under the Biden government we’ve lost 15 wireless brands,” Peter Adderton, CEO of Mobile X Global, a rival MNVO, told On The Money.

“The MNVOs were driving prices down because they could drive mean and lean,” he added. “The only reason it’s been wildly successful is because they’re offering better value to customers… Now, big carriers are just buying them up and raising prices instead of trying to compete.”

Earlier this week, Reynolds — whose latest investment is Canadian payment company Nuvei — said his strategy is all about building a brand. But some suggest that building a brand when it comes to prepaid phone services doesn’t actually save consumers money.

“Starting a prepaid company doesn’t create value,” a source told On The Money. “You just build a brand, sell it off to a big network and then they raise prices.”

The Post reported in 2021 that Reynolds — who snagged a 20% to 25% stake in Mint when he inked a deal to become its pitchman in 2019 — was poised to reap a windfall from his stake in the company.

The DOJ, T-Mobile and Mint didn’t respond to requests for comment.



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