“It’s very important to note that the leader of Iliad has long hair and he made his money in porn. I mean, these are critical components. Positive attributes… I’m just saying.”
That was T-Mobile US CEO John Legere at an investment conference hosted by Goldman Sachs last week. Legere prefaced his presentation on the company’s growth prospects with the warning that “there will be more swearing in this session than all of the Goldman events put together.” He proceeded to say “shit” (or variations of the term) eight times.
Legere, who is known both for swearing and unorthodox tactics that have revived T-Mobile over the past two years, was asked at the conference why the carrier had rejected a recent takeover bid by Illiad, a French telecommunications upstart with a seemingly similar philosophy.
Like T-Mobile in the US, Illiad, founded by entrepreneur Xavier Niel who built some of his fortune on sex chat sites and sex shops, has been using unconventional and aggressive tactics to shake up France’s wireless industry.
“We’re not going to comment outside of his hair and his porn,” Legere continued. “Listen, we take the interest in T-Mobile US, which isn’t just them, it’s many different companies, as flattering. I think it’s indicative of what we’re doing and I think that will continue.”
This week analysts at Jefferies said T-Mobile had indicated to them at a recent meeting that it would only do a deal with a company that had US customers and spectrum (and a high enough price). That might rule out Illiad (“In our view, a deal with Iliad appears less likely,” the analysts wrote) but could attract Dish Networks, which may already be interested.
Legere did not immediately respond to an email. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment.