Ryan Reynolds Might Lose $300 Million Mint Mobile Payday

Ryan Reynolds had an emotional roller coaster of a weekend. Let’s start with the good news: On Saturday, Wrexham, the soccer club Ryan co-owns with Rob McElhenney, beat a team called Boreham Wood. With the win, Wrexham mathematically secured the National League crown and therefore will be promoted to League Two. For those who have no idea what the previous sentence means, let me explain using minor league baseball as a metaphor:

There are 206 minor league baseball teams split into 14 different leagues. The highest level minor league is Triple-A. Imagine if every year the championship Triple-A team was turned into a major league team. And simultaneously, the worst major league team was demoted to Triple-A. That’s what happens in the English football league system.

Wrexham will go from the National League up to League Two. Next up would be League One, then League Championship and finally the all-powerful Premier League which currently features teams like Arsenal and Manchester United.

When a team like Wrexham jumps up a league, the club’s owners get a nice little cash bonus. Because the upper leagues have more valuable TV contracts, when a team jumps up the owners receive a check for their share of the league’s licensing fees.

With the jump from the National League to League Two, Ryan and Rob will split the equivalent of roughly $1.4 million.

Two beloved Hollywood comedic actors lead a little-known soccer team to a fairy tale league victory and score a $1.4 million bonus! Woo hoo! Go Wrexham! Congrats Ryan!

So that’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news:

Ryan’s share of the TV bonus money, roughly $700,000, is a tiny sliver of the $300 MILLION he may have just lost thanks to the Department of Justice.

(Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images)

DOJ v. Mint Mobile

In November 2019, Ryan purchased a 25% stake in a wireless company called Mint Mobile. One month ago, in March 2023, Ryan and his partners announced that Mint Mobile had agreed to be acquired by T-Mobile for…


Specifically, T-Mobile offered to buy Mint for $1.35 billion paid in form of 39% cash and 61% stock.

As 25% owner, Ryan’s rough share of the cash portion would be $130 million, pre-tax. His share of the stock portion would be $205 million worth of T-Mobile shares (1.4 million shares to be precise).

If we reduce the $130 million cash portion in half to account for taxes, Ryan’s Mint Mobile payday could be worth…

$300 million

Unfortunately that $300 million windfall might soon slip through Ryan’s fingers.

According to sources who spoke to the New York Post over the weekend, the Department of Justice’s antitrust division is considering filing a lawsuit to block T-Mobile’s $1.35 billion acquisition of Mint Mobile. According to the Post’s sources, the DOJ is reportedly worried that the deal is “part of a consolidation trend that will push prices higher for wireless customers.”

And frankly, I kind of agree. Sorry Ryan!

Why would the DOJ be concerned? Let’s start by breaking down Mint Mobile’s primary value proposition. According to the company’s own origin story:

We started Mint Mobile to give people an option that wasn’t big wireless. An affordable, premium wireless service that we’d actually want to use ourselves. That means ditching things like crazy fees, expensive contracts and overall nonsense.

On the company’s About Us page, Ryan Reynolds gives a testimonial in which he says:

While every other tech titan is off chasing rockets, I’ll corner the budget-friendly wireless sector. Like most people, I only use rockets 10-12 times a year, but I use my service every day.

In other words, Mint Mobile was able to build a successful business because millions of customers appreciate the company’s hassle-free, low-cost options.

And now let’s talk about the wireless market.

In the last three years alone, 15 wireless brands have been gobbled up and consolidated by the biggest players. And it’s not just small companies.

In August 2020, T-Mobile acquired Sprint for $26 billion. That acquisition made absolutely no sense and should never have been approved by regulators. Americans used to have a highly competitive market for wireless service. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint had to compete for your dollar through better service, better phones, better plans etc…

And if you didn’t want to have a contract with a big company, wireless customers could have chosen a plan from a smaller player like Mint Mobile (soon to be owned by T-Mobile), Cricket (acquired by AT&T in 2014), TracFone (acquired by Verizon in November 2021) or Boost Mobile (acquired by Dish Network in July 2020)… you get my point.

If Mint Mobile becomes part of T-Mobile, how long will it remain a “budget friendly” premium wireless service? How long before Mint Mobile customers are suddenly hit with those very same “crazy fees, expensive contracts and overall nonsense” that went against the company’s founding mission statement?

If Ryan does lose out on $300 million, don’t cry for him. He’s still an extremely rich, beloved superstar celebrity. Prior to the Mint Mobile sale announcement, we estimated Ryan Reynolds’ net worth to be $150 million. That included a $50 million value for his stake in Mint Mobile.

Even if we have to knock him all the way back down to $100 million, I think he’ll be ok. Also, please don’t forget that Ryan already got one big payday without any DOJ interference!

In August 2020 Ryan sold his alcohol brand, Aviation Gin, to British liquor conglomerate Diageo in a deal that could ultimately be worth $610 million. The deal paid $335 million cash up front. Ryan was believed to be a 20% owner of the brand, so he likely received around $67 million pre-tax from the upfront cash portion of the sale and could earn an additional $55 million in future milestone payments.

I won’t keep ranting, but one could easily argue that the DOJ should have blocked the Aviation sale as well. Diageo is the largest liquor company in the world. It owns more than 200 alcohol brands including, to name just a few:

  • Tanqueray
  • Johnnie Walker
  • Smirnoff
  • Captain Morgan
  • Crown Royal
  • Don Julio
  • Ciroc
  • Casamigos
  • Kettle One

I don’t know how much a bottle of Aviation Gin cost at your local store prior to its August 2020 acquisition, but I would bet my life that the price is higher today 🙂

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