FCC Wants Further Scrutiny of AT&T T-Mobile Merger

November 23, 2011 -

AT&T is finding that making the $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA a reality will be an uphill battle. The mobile broadband operator expected the FCC and other U.S. government agencies to green light the merger, but this week FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asked commissioners to send the proposal to a judge for a hearing and further scrutiny. FCC staff came to the conclusion that the proposed merger would "significantly diminish competition" and lead to job losses.

During a press briefing yesterday, FCC officials also disputed AT&T’s claims that the merger would create new jobs and "significantly spur" the expansion of wireless high-speed Internet.

Analyst like Jeffrey Silva at Medley Global Advisors believes that AT&T will have a long legal battle on its hands if it wants to salvage the deal.

"The FCC and DOJ work hand in hand," Silva told Bloomberg in a telephone interview. The FCC’s move "shows that AT&T has made no progress in the negotiations with the DOJ."

"It is yet another example of a government agency acting to prevent billions in new investment and the creation of many thousands of new jobs at a time when the U.S. economy desperately needs both," Larry Solomon, an AT&T spokesman, said in a statement.

While a trial is probable commissioners have yet to vote on Genachowski's recommendation for review by an agency judge. The administrative law judge presiding over the hearing delivers an initial verdict that is then voted on by agency commissioners.

Herbert Hovenkamp, a professor and antitrust expert at the University of Iowa College of Law, tells Bloomberg that the FCC's version of a trial is "farther-reaching than a court trial."

Andrew Lipman, a Washington-based partner with Bingham McCutchen LLP, said in an interview yesterday that this action is the first time since 2002 that the FCC has moved to bring a communications merger to a hearing before an agency judge.

"A hearing could go on for six to 12 months," Lipman said. "It’s certainly a significant obstacle and roadblock."

But the chances of AT&T simply giving up on the merger plan is unlikely because it will cost them a lot of money either way. AT&T has agreed to pay Deutsche Telekom a breakup fee of $3 billion as well as spectrum if the deal falls through for a total of as much as $7 billion.

"Too much money remains at stake for it to concede defeat and drop the deal," Andrew Gavil, an antitrust professor at Howard University School of Law in Washington, said in an interview. "They’ve locked themselves in to take it to the mat."

We will continue to follow this story as it develops. Source: Business Week

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Re: FCC Wants Further Scrutiny of AT&T T-Mobile Merger

Funny to watch the FCC pretend to care about questioning the merger.

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james_fudgeI'll be watching the Facebook page09/01/2015 - 10:14am
james_fudgethe site maybe up right now, but we're not updating until we're at the new location.09/01/2015 - 10:13am
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Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Vx4_prmvo09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MattsworknameTotal bisquit talkes about why teh Deus X pre order systems is garbage.09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MechaTama31Infophile: Kind of like how you're criticizing these theoretical reactions before you've even read any? ;)09/01/2015 - 12:44am
PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
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james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
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