"We believe AT&T (T) is overpaying for Leap’s (LEAP) spectrum," says BMO's Kevin Manning,...

|By:, SA News Editor

"We believe AT&T (T) is overpaying for Leap’s (LEAP) spectrum," says BMO's Kevin Manning, expressing a common view. He estimates AT&T is paying $5.25B for Leap after factoring debt and lease obligations, or $2.31/MHz/POP. That's well above the prices attached to recent spectrum deals (I, II), something attributed to a desire to keep Leap out of T-Mobile's (TMUS) hands. Much of Leap's spectrum resides in the AWS band, where T-Mobile has a huge presence. Though few analysts expect a higher bid, Leap closed 13% above AT&T's offer price, in part due to expected spectrum proceeds. One unanswered question: What will happen to AT&T's AIO prepaid brand, given the carrier's plans to support Leap's Cricket brand? (AT&T/Leap: I, II)