It looks like the T-Mobile's proposed acquisition of MetroPCS is now one step closer to actually happening. GigaOM notes that the U.S. Department of Justice has essentially approved of the merger by letting the required antitrust waiting period to expire without announcing any plans to fight the deal or look into it any further. While the merger is still subject to other regulatory approval as well as a MetroPCS shareholder vote, the fact that the Justice Department let the deal slide through its offices without objection means that it's cleared one big hurdle on its way to reaching completion.
Originally announced in early October 2012, the proposed deal would see T-Mobile acquire MetroPCS and repurpose its spectrum that's currently being used for CDMA and LTE service, switching it over to HSPA+ and T-Mobile-friendly LTE coverage. MetroPCS would receive $1.5 billion in cash and a 26 percent stake in the combined T-Metro entity in return. The deal isn't sitting well with all of MetroPCS's stockholders, though. Two hedge funds, one of which is the largest MetroPCS shareholder, have voiced their opposition to the deal, claiming that it's unfair to current Metro stockholders. MetroPCS is planning to hold an official shareholder vote on April 12, and both it and T-Mobile expect the merger to reach completion shortly thereafter.