AT&T, T-Mobile Withdraw Merger Bid (for Now)

They yank application from FCC but haven't given up on the deal
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2011 11:43 AM CST
AT&T, T-Mobile Withdraw Merger Application From FCC, but Haven't Given Up on Deal
AT&T and T-Mobile have withdrawn their FCC merger application.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

AT&T and T-Mobile have unexpectedly withdrawn their merger application from FCC consideration. While the move hints at trouble for the $39 billion deal, the companies say they’re not giving up, Politico reports. Instead, they’ll focus on getting approval from the Justice Department—either by winning an antitrust lawsuit against the proposed deal lodged by the department or through a settlement. Still, AT&T is, for the first time, acknowledging that things could go wrong for the deal.

The company notes that it will take a $4 billion charge to handle a “breakup fee” it promised T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom “in the event the transaction does not receive regulatory approval.” The companies yanked the application after learning that the FCC chair aimed to block the merger, fearing its effects on wireless industry competition. The firms also may have withdrawn the application in order to keep their records on the matter private, the New York Times notes. (More AT&T stories.)

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