Category: Back Office

T-MOBILE MERGER OK DIALS UP GOOD NEWS FOR KINGSBURG

Regulatory approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger clears the way for a 1,000-job call center for Kingsburg. Image via Kingsburg’s economic overview document, photo by Mike Miller with Guarantee Real Estate

Published On July 26, 2019 – 12:41 PM
Written By By TALI ARBEL And MARCY GORDON Associated Press

U.S. regulators have approved T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion takeover of rival Sprint, despite fears of higher prices and job cuts, in a deal that would leave just three major cellphone companies in the country.

The news also marks a pivotal step for a planned T-Mobile “Customer Experience Center” in Kingsburg that would create more than 1,000 new jobs and contribute $105 million to the local economy.

T-Mobile made it clear that the proposed call center’s future hinged on regulatory approval of the merger. The telecom giant also announced similar call centers would be built in Overland Park, Kansas, and Henrietta, New York, if the merger were approved. Adding the expansion of existing call centers, T-Mobile promised the creation of more than 5,000 new jobs by 2021.

The “New T-Mobile” promises to become one of the largest employers in Fresno County, with employees earning wages more than 50% of average for the region.

It’s also a feather in the economic development cap of Kingsburg, which has seen more than 25 news businesses open in the last two years.

“The Kingsburg area in Fresno County is already home to a tremendous amount of innovation, diverse talent and great energy, which makes it a perfect fit for the New T-Mobile!” said T-Mobile and New T-Mobile President Mike Sievert, in a statement from April. “Our new CECs will allow the New T-Mobile to expand the personalized service we give our amazing customers every single day as we continue to grow. We can’t wait to be a partner in the revitalized Central Valley.”

According to a Kingsburg economic overview document posted on the city website last week, the city has a number of active business incentive programs. These include development impact fee discounts as well as rebates for property and sales taxes. No specific site has been identified for the call center, so it’s not known what, if any, incentives T-Mobile might receive for the development project.

Friday’s approval from the Justice Department and five state attorneys general comes after Sprint and T-Mobile agreed to conditions that would set up satellite-TV provider Dish as a smaller rival to Verizon, AT&T and the combined T-Mobile-Sprint company. The Justice Department’s antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said the conditions set up Dish “as a disruptive force in wireless.”

But attorneys general from other states and public-interest advocates say that Dish is hardly a replacement for Sprint as a stand-alone company and that the conditions fail to address the competitive harm the deal causes.

“By signing off on this merger, the Justice Department has done nothing to remedy the short- and long-term harms the loss of an independent Sprint will create for U.S. wireless users,” Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner said.

A federal judge still must sign off on the approval, as it includes conditions for the new company. The Federal Communications Commission is also expected to give the takeover its blessing.

Dish is paying $5 billion for Sprint’s prepaid cellphone brands including Boost and Virgin Mobile — some 9 million customers — and some spectrum, or airwaves for wireless service, from the two companies. Dish will also be able to rent T-Mobile’s network for seven years while it builds its own.

Dish on Friday promised the FCC that it would build a nationwide network using next-generation “5G” technology by June 2023. But Dish is promising speeds that are only slightly higher than what’s typical today, even though 5G promises the potential for blazing speeds.

The Trump administration has not been consistent in its approach to media and telecom mergers. While the government went to court to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and then lost, the Justice Department allowed Disney to buy much of 21st Century Fox, a direct competitor, with only minor asset sales to get the deal done. Mergers between direct competitors have historically had a higher bar to clear at the Justice Department.

Sprint and T-Mobile combined would now approach the size of Verizon and AT&T. The companies have argued that bulking up will mean a better next-generation “5G” wireless network than they could make on their own. Sprint and T-Mobile have argued for over a year that having one big company to challenge AT&T and Verizon, rather than two smaller companies, will be better for U.S. consumers.

The two companies tried to combine during the Obama administration but regulators rebuffed them. They resumed talks on combining once President Donald Trump took office, hoping for more industry-friendly regulators. The companies appealed to Trump’s desire for the U.S. to “win” a global 5G race with China as this faster, more reliable wireless is rolled out and applications are built for it. They have been arguing their case for more than a year.

Meanwhile, the FCC agreed in May to back the deal after T-Mobile promised to build out rural broadband and 5G, sell its Boost prepaid brand and keep prices on hold for three years.

But public-interest advocates complained that the FCC conditions did not address the problems of the merger — higher prices, less wireless competition — and would be difficult for regulators to enforce.

Attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit to block the deal . They say the promised benefits, such as better networks in rural areas and faster service overall, cannot be verified. They also worry that eliminating a major wireless company will immediately harm consumers by reducing g competition and driving up prices for cellphone service.

They are not likely to be satisfied by Friday’s settlement. None of the states involved in the suit were part of it. “We have serious concerns that cobbling together this new fourth mobile player, with the government picking winners and losers, will not address the merger’s harm to consumers, workers, and innovation,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

Dish is largely a company with a declining satellite-TV business. It has no wireless business, but over the past decade it has spent more than $21 billion accumulating a large stock of spectrum for wireless service. The wireless industry has long been skeptical of Dish’s ambitions to actually build a wireless service, instead speculating that the company wanted to make money by selling its holdings to other companies.

Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner, a longtime telecom analyst, said in an interview before the Justice Department’s announcement — many terms had been leaked to the press beforehand — that the settlement was good for the incumbent wireless companies, as a weak competitor in Sprint is being replaced by an even weaker one in Dish.

Sprint, the current No. 4 wireless provider, has thousands of stores and other distribution points as well as a cellular network. Dish has none of that, although the settlement gives it the option of taking over some stores and cell sites that T-Mobile ditches over the next five years. Creating and maintaining a retail operation and network cost tens of billions of dollars, Entner said. He doubts that Dish could do that alone, as its core business is in deep decline, or that Dish could find a wealthier company to help it do so.

But New Street Research analysts say Dish could build a lower-cost network and provide cheaper plans for customers. Still, that could take years.

George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports, also said in an interview earlier that the current structure of four competing providers works. He said it’s not the same to diminish that while enabling a competitor that doesn’t currently have the infrastructure. “Dish might become a competing network at some point but it’s not there now.”

Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank owns Sprint, while Germany’s Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile. SoftBank will continue to own 27 percent of the new, bigger T-Mobile and will keep some influence, but it will not control the company.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/t-mobile-merger-ok-dials-up-good-news-for-kingsburg/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=97dc7bf6e4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_26_07_42&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-97dc7bf6e4-78934409&mc_cid=97dc7bf6e4&mc_eid=a126ded657

1,000 jobs coming to Central Valley

Central Valley Business Times

April 8, 2019

• They’ll be at a new T-Mobile customer call center in Kingsburg
• Company says it will offer a new level of customer service

T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint have picked Kingsburg in Fresno County as the location for their previously announced Central Valley “Customer Experience Center.” The new call center will have more than 1,000 employees. The companies say the new workers will earn wages on
average over 50 percent higher than the average wages in Fresno County, which will also make the the call center one of the highest-paying employers in the area.

The Kingsburg call center is to have what T-Mobile terms its “Team of Experts” service model, which provides customers direct personal access to a dedicated team of specialists when they call or message for assistance. The specialists are to work with local retail and engineering  eams to address a wide variety of topics and tackle complex challenges for customers primarily based in California.

The combined company will have 7,500 more customer care workers in 2024 than the two stand-alone companies would have employed, they say. It all depends, however, on the closing of their merger to become what the companies want to call the “New TMobile.”

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/aa2510f6-dfc0-42b6-af7e-db406cf9132c.pdf

 

Bitwise teams up with FresYes Realty open third downtown location

Bitwise Industries is teaming up with Fres-Yes realty company and expanding to a new location in Downtown Fresno.

It will be located at the Old Spaghetti Factory building on Ventura and R Streets.

The building will be the third location for Bitwise, which already has South Stadium Van Ness and The Hive.

The second story of the new building, called “Bitwise 41,” will eventually have a team of 150 FresYes agents working there.

Organizers say they hope the new location will inspire other businesses to come to Downtown Fresno.

“So I think the exciting part as far as visibility goes you can’t get more visible than this building right here. 41 is directly behind me. North and south. 45,000 cars going each way. It is a prime location for just visibility alone,” said Channelle Charest with Bitwise.

Bitwise 41 is expected to be ready to occupy in April.

A grand opening will be held in early summer.

California’s Central Valley Named as Third Location for New T-Mobile Customer Experience Center

Third of Five Announced New T-Mobile Customer Experience Centers will create 1000 new jobs in area, pending merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

T-Mobile US (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Sprint Corporation (NYSE: S) today announced that, pending the close of their merger, they have selected the Central Valley in California as the area for the third of five new Customer Experience Centers to serve New T-Mobile customers. The facility will create approximately 1,000 local jobs.

As with the other previously announced locations in Kansas and New York, the new California facility, once integrated, will bring top-notch support to New T-Mobile customers. The state-of-the-art facilities will offer T-Mobile’s innovative Team of Experts (TEX) service model, which allows customers to have direct personal access to a dedicated team of specialists when they call or message for assistance. The specialists work with local retail and engineering to address a wide variety of topics and tackle complex challenges for customers.

The five new TEX-enabled facilities are just one part of the future New T-Mobile’s plans to put customers first and bring jobs to communities. The companies also previously announced that two existing T-Mobile Customer Experience Centers will be expanding. These cumulative efforts will create up to 5,600 additional American jobs by 2021. The combined companies will have 7,500 more customer care professionals in 2024 than the stand-alone companies would have employed.

“We needed to find just the right area for our next New T-Mobile Customer Experience Center – and we found it in the Golden State! California and the Central Valley have everything we need to take care of customers – amazing energy, a commitment to innovation and business, and most importantly skilled and diverse people who we can’t wait to join our team of Magenta heroes!” said T-Mobile US CEO and New T-Mobile CEO, John Legere.

T-Mobile has consistently been featured on numerous “Best Place to Work” lists year over year. The newest Care team members will be eligible to receive benefits and opportunities such as significant management preparation experience, career development paths and college tuition reimbursement.

The new Customer Experience Centers are just one way the New T-Mobile will invest billions of dollars in job creation and infrastructure in the United States. Sprint and T-Mobile together will employ more people in the U.S. than both companies would separately. Other investments include building out an industry-leading nationwide 5G network, delivering more competition and new choice to customers like broadband, and opening new stores to an expanding customer base.

The completion of the combination remains subject to regulatory approvals and certain other customary closing conditions and is expected to occur during the first half of 2019. Additional information regarding T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint can be found at: www.NewTMobile.com.

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/t-mobile-sprint-california-customer-service-center

Bitwise continuing to spread its wings in downtown Fresno. Latest venture is colorful, too

Stifel opens Modesto branch

Stifel Financial Corporation has opened another Central Valley location in Modesto.

The location, at 1539 McHenry Ave., Ste. A, is the 39th Stifel office in California. It will be run by the team of Dane and Randy Anderson.Between them, the Andersons have more than 71 years of investment experience. They previously worked with Wells Fargo Advisors, handling upwards of $200 million in client assets.

The environment at Stifel appeals to the team due to the flexibility the company gives its advisors.

“Stifel is an entrepreneurial environment where advisors can run their business the way they think is best for them and their clients,” said Dane Anderson. “Thanks to Stifel’s advisor- and client-centric culture, I feel our clients will truly benefit in our transition to Stifel.”Many advisors in the investment industry have worked together in past roles, especially at places such as A.G. Edwards.

“I am thrilled to reunited with Dane and Randy after having worked with them for years at A.G. Edwards,” said John Lee, who is now the Western Region director for Stifel. “I maintain that this is a relationship business built on trust, and to have these trusted advisors join Stifel where they can be the center of the relationship with their clients and not worry about corporate interference is exciting for them, and we are excited to have them.”

 

 

Stifel was founded in 1890 by Benjamin Altheimer and Edward Rawlings as a general securities business. They brought Herman Charles Stifel onboard seven years later as their treasurer. Henry J. Nicolaus joined the company in 1910, along with his son Louis. In 1923, it was renamed Stifel, Nicolaus Investment Company.

https://cvbj.biz/2018/05/15/stifel-opens-modesto-branch/

Former State Farm complex, Bakersfield’s largest office building, sells

BY STEVEN MAYER

    Apr 5, 2018
State Farm
Hundreds of State Farm employees still work at the building at 900 Old River Road. But as of Tuesday, the building, with more than a half-million square feet of office space — Bakersfield’s largest — has a new owner.Felix Adamo/ The Californian

Could Bakersfield’s largest office building become the new local headquarters for a big oil company?

In a landmark sale that could affect commercial real estate in Bakersfield for years to come, Cushman & Wakefield and two of its directors said Thursday that the former operations center for State Farm in southwest Bakersfield has been sold.

The commercial real estate agency’s Senior Director Jeff Andrew and Associate Director Pat Thompson closed one of the biggest deals of their careers earlier this week, but due to a strict confidentiality agreement, they can’t reveal key details — except for the fact that after years of work, the sale of the massive, four-story, 556,000 square-foot building closed on Tuesday.

“We can talk about how this could affect the commercial real estate market locally,” Andrew said. “But we can’t reveal the seller, the buyer or the price.”

Fortunately for the curious, that information is part of the public record, and Californian reporters have been checking on the fate of one of the city’s most important chunks of real estate, on and off, for months.

According to information compiled by the Kern County Assessor’s and Recorder’s offices, the seller, represented by Cushman & Wakefield, was listed as LSREF2 Tractor REO BAK LLC.

More interesting, the buyer is identified as California Resources Real Estate Ventures LLC, or California Resources Corp., a Los Angeles-based energy company that spun off from Occidental Petroleum Corp. in 2014.

The price: $48.4 million.

The presence of the insurance company’s center at 900 Old River Road, and the hundreds of jobs it created, had been touted for years as a significant economic driver for the southern San Joaquin Valley. So when State Farm announced it was leaving, the news inspired angst among those concerned about jobs and economic growth in Bakersfield.

State Farm is committed to a reduced number of employees staying in the building, for now, Andrew said, but the new owner — he would not confirm the name of the buyer — would fill out the lion’s share of the space.

Many of those new employees will come from several other local commercial office buildings and will be consolidated under one huge roof. That means office vacancies will be opening up in Bakersfield. But those smaller spaces should be easier to fill, said Thompson.

A building with more that a half-million square feet of office space has few potential tenants.

“We had to go to the largest users of office space,” Andrew said.

And that’s a very short list.

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/former-state-farm-complex-bakerfield-s-largest-office-building-sells/article_c4863ec0-3924-11e8-b71f-dfbdf6a0adaa.html