Remember last week when we got word that the U.S. Department of Justice was interested in postponing its antitrust lawsuit against AT&T over its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile? Well today that's precisely what happened, as the Justice Department, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom all filed a joint motion to inform Judge Ellen Huvelle that they'd like the DOJ's suit against AT&T halted. The filing mentions that AT&T and Deutsche Telekom would like to stay the case until January 18th in order to allow them time to "evaluate all options." Additionally, the motion asks that AT&T give an update on the status of the deal by January 12th that will include an explanation on the status of the deal and whether or not the companies involve plan to proceed with it. The full statement from AT&T on today's filing is below.
In other AT&T-Mobile news, Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton has revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that his company would be interested in partnering with T-Mobile should its acquisition by AT&T fall through. Dish got some wireless spectrum earlier this year thanks to deals involving bankrupt companies DBSD North America Inc. and Terrestar Networks Inc., and Clayton would like to merge that spectrum with T-Mobile's existing network. "We’re not interested in making money on selling our spectrum,” Clayton said. “We want to use it to create a national wireless network, video, voice and data. We’ve got expertise in satellite-TV, and we will in satellite broadband. The voice part, we’ll need some help with.” Clayton added that he's also interested in the idea of teaming up with a company other than T-Mobile, such as Sprint.
Although AT&T doesn't mention in its statement what other options it may be considering for its T-Mobile deal, we've heard that both a major asset sale and a joint venture are possibilities. It's not clear which of those options, if either, AT&T will actually follow through with, but the odds of anything resembling the acquisition as it was originally announced gaining approval are looking less and less likely as the days go by. As long as the stay gets approved by the judge (and it's likely that it will), it should be interesting to see what AT&T decides to do after gaining a month to weigh its options. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: According to the New York Times, Judge Ellen Huvelle has granted the stay. The AT&T-Mobile saga continues!
AT&T Updates Status of T-Mobile USA Merger
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AT&T today issued the following statement regarding the status of its merger with T-Mobile USA:
“AT&T and Deutsche Telekom advised Judge Huvelle this morning that they wish to stay any further Court proceedings until January 18, 2012, to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options. The U.S. Department of Justice joined in the filing.”
“AT&T is committed to working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution that is in the best interests of our respective customers, shareholders and employees. We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals so that we can deliver the capacity enhancements and improved customer service that can only be derived from combining our two companies' wireless assets.”
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