The Department of Justice is questioning the legitimacy of the AT&T and T-Mobile deal
The Department of Justice is now questioning the status of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger after AT&T withdrew its application from the FCC. The DOJ sees the application withdrawal as an intent to abandon the deal, or to submit a radically changed version.
The DOJ, in a Tuesday telephone conference, questioned whether AT&T’s merger application was still active, wrote Richard Levie, a special master overseeing the DOJ’s antitrust case against the merger. “DOJ interprets these comments to mean that the current litigation may, in fact, not present a live case or controversy,” Levie wrote in an order.
The FCC wrote a lengthy, scathing report regarding the application after AT&T's withdrawal. AT&T, in response, said that the FCC was guilty of a smear campaign and that the report was misinformed and misrepresented facts.
The federal court case is on track, and the anti-litigation trial is scheduled to begin in February 2012. In the meantime, I'm inclined to agree with MetroPCS' CFO when he says that the likelihood of the deal going through is slim. It will require approval from the FCC, who has already made its position on the merger very clear.
If the deal fails to go through, AT&T says it plans on exploring other partnership options with T-Mobile in the future.