AT&T's talks of potential T-Mobile asset sale reportedly falterAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Over the past month or so, we've watched AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile hit a few stumbling blocks, leaving many to wonder what AT&T might be planning in order to help save the deal. Rumors began to surface about talks between AT&T and Leap Wireless about a potential T-Mobile asset sale to help get federal approval of the merger, but tonight a new report has emerged suggesting that those talks have stalled. According to sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal, AT&T had been in "serious discussions" with Leap to divest more than 30 percent of the deal's value. However, those negotiations have recently gone cold due to concerns that the Department of Justice would still be opposed to the deal even if a major asset sale occurred, says the WSJ's sources. It's also reported that Dish Network, MetroPCS and foreign buyers have also been in the running for a potential asset deal with AT&T.
So where does AT&T go from here? A judge recently granted a stay in the antitrust case brought against AT&T by the Justice Department, which AT&T says it will use to "evaluate all options." One of the choices that AT&T is currently weighing is abandoning the deal altogether, reports the WSJ's sources. The sources added that a decision on that move may be made by the end of the year. The aforementioned stay requires that AT&T and Deutsche Telekom provide an update on the proposed deal, including whether or not they intend to proceed with it at all, by January 12th, so we're sure to hear something more on the situation by then. Exactly what'll end up happening in this deal is still up in the air, but it definitely seems that AT&T is not quite as confident about it gaining approval as it once was. More on this as we get it.