T-Mobile buys parent company of Ryan Reynolds-owned Mint Mobile


Mint Mobile Press Kit

Fariha Alam

T-Mobile US Inc. acquired Ka’ena Corp., the parent company of Mint Mobile, in a deal worth $1.35 billion.

The phone service provider announced the acquisition in a press release on March 15. The deal, which also includes Ultra Mobile and Plum, would enable T-Mobile to expand its customer base and offer better services to Mint Mobile’s existing customers. All three services have operated using T-Mobile’s towers.

“Our brands have thrived on the T-Mobile network, and we are thrilled that this agreement will take them even further, bringing the many benefits of 5G to even more Americans,” David Glickman, the CEO of Mint, Ultra and Plum, said in a press release. “This transaction validates our meteoric success and will unite two proven industry innovators committed to doing things differently in the wireless industry.”

Mint Mobile was founded in 2016 and has gained a reputation for providing affordable and flexible mobile plans.

Ryan Reynolds, an actor who is best known for his starring roles in the “Deadpool” film series and the “Detective Pikachu” movie, has owned a reported 25% stake in the company since November 2019.

“We are so happy T-Mobile beat out an aggressive last-minute bid from my mom Tammy Reynolds as we believe the excellence of their 5G network will provide a better strategic fit than my mom’s slightly above-average mahjong skills,” Reynolds said, according to a press release. “I am so proud of the entire Mint team and so excited for what’s to come.”

Reynolds has been vocal about his support of the service provider and has appeared in several of its advertisements. Upon announcing the deal on Twitter, he said that he found “the best for Mint Mobile customers.”

“I never dreamt I’d own a wireless company and I certainly never dreamt I’d sell it to T-Mobile,” Reynolds tweeted. “Life is strange and I’m incredibly proud and grateful.”

Another mobile virtual network operator owned by Ka’ena, Ultra was founded in 2011 and focuses on providing affordable international calling plans. Additionally, the mobile virtual network operator Plum notably offers affordable plans for senior citizens.

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert appeared alongside Reynolds in a video announcing the acquisition.

“Over the long-term, we’ll also benefit from applying the marketing formula Mint has become famous for across more parts of T-Mobile,” Sievert said, according to a press release. “We think customers are really going to win with a more competitive and expansive Mint and Ultra.”

The acquisition is expected to close later this year and will be subjected to regulatory approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Kae’na’s three brands will operate alongside T-Mobile’s pre-paid services such as Metro by T-Mobile.

Sievert said Mint will continue offering customers its pricing plan for as little as $15 per month. The company also offers an unlimited wireless plan for $30 per month.

Glickman and Rizwan Kassim, who co-founded Mint together, will continue to participate on T-Mobile’s board to manage the brands, which will operate independently from T-Mobile.

Reynolds will also continue to serve in his “creative role on behalf of Mint.” Through his firm Maximum Effort, the actor stars in and produces advertisement campaigns for the service provider.

Financial details about the performance of both companies were not provided in the announcement, but the move is expected to provide significant financial benefits to both T-Mobile and Ka’ena.

T-Mobile is one of the largest wireless carriers in the United States.

The move is also expected to have a significant financial impact on Reynolds. He will reportedly earn an estimated $300 million from the transaction. The actor’s financial dealings also include co-ownership of the Wales-based professional soccer club Wrexham with actor Rob McElhenney and co-ownership of Aviation American Gin, which was acquired by the beverage company Diageo PLC for $610 million.

“Phone service is an essential service,” Reynold said in an interview with CNBC. “A lot of people that are in my position come from showbiz and that sort of stuff, you’re sort of looking at aspirational items. Our north star is anti-aspiration items.”