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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Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
 

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