Business

T-Mobile CEO’s first stop after cutting Sprint deal? Trump’s DC hotel, report says

The first stop T-Mobile executives made after announcing a deal last April to buy Sprint was President Donald Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel, according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.

Nine T-Mobile executives, including CEO John Legere, appeared on what the Post called a daily “VIP Arrivals” list the hotel gives its staff. Repeat visits have followed, it said, as T-Mobile seeks federal approval for its $26 billion deal with Sprint.

Just last week, Legere was spotted in the hotel’s lobby and talked with a Post reporter.

“It’s become a place I feel very comfortable,” Legere said, according to the Post. The Post said Legere had cited the hotel’s location near federal offices that house some who are reviewing the deal.

“At the moment I am in town for some meetings at the Department of Justice,” Legere told the reporter. “And it’s very convenient for that.”

The Federal Communications Commission also is reviewing the merger, but the government shutdown has put its review on hold indefinitely.

The Post reported that in April 2015, Legere and Trump had a Twitter war in which Trump called T-Mobile’s service “terrible.”

Later, the story says, Legere mocked Trump’s hotels: “I am so happy to wake up in a hotel where every single item isn’t labeled ‘Trump,’ ” he wrote, according to previous news coverage.

Those tweets appear to have been deleted, the Post notes, as others recalled how Legere has complained about Trump hotels.

According to the Post, Legere said he doubted the company’s use of the hotel would have any influence on the Trump Administration’s inclination toward the proposed merger, or that Trump even knew they were staying there.

In an emailed statement, T-Mobile said its executives stay “at a variety of hotels in DC and across the country — and they are chosen primarily based on proximity to the meetings being conducted.” It also said the company is confident regulators would weigh the proposed merger objectively and base their ruling on facts.

Two years ago, Trump’s real estate figured into events when then-Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son was in pursuit of a deal to buy T-Mobile. Son met with the president-elect inside Trump Tower in New York. The men posed for cameras in the tower lobby afterward.

Trump, who had not yet been inaugurated as president, said Son promised to invest $50 billion in the United States and to create 50,000 jobs in the process. Sprint later said 5,000 of those U.S. workers would be Sprint employees.

Sprint failed to get T-Mobile to agree to terms that the Overland Park-based company would accept, and the two sides cut off talks in November 2017.

Negotiations resumed and the $26 billion deal — that folds Sprint into T-Mobile — was announced last April.

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Mark Davis writes about business for The Kansas City Star with attention to Sprint, investing, the economy and scams. He has been a winner and finalist in national competitions held by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing.
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