We’re guessing that when AT&T announced it was going to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion that it didn’t expect the deal would receive such jeers from the regulators at the Justice Dept. or the FCC. But with the former ready to go to trial to block the merger and the latter saying it will hold its own hearing if the DOJ fails, AT&T now appears to be looking at the Darth in the mirror.
Earlier today, lawyers for the Death Star and the DOJ appeared in court to chat with the judge, where the judge granted a request for postponement while AT&T looks to see if there is anything it could do to its proposed deal to make it more palatable to regulators.
“We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals,” AT&T said in a statement.
Shortly before Thanksgiving, the FCC announced that, should the deal survive the DOJ trial, it planned on holding an in-depth administrative hearing, during which AT&T would need to prove that the purchase of T-Mobile USA is in the public’s best interest.
And then on Thanksgiving day, while we were all stuffing ourselves with stuffing, AT&T quietly withdrew its merger application with the FCC, saying it was focusing its efforts on the DOJ trial and would cross the FCC approval bridge when it came to it.
Considering that regulators’ main concerns about the AT&T/T-Mobile deal is that it would effectively create a duopoly in the U.S. wireless market, it’s hard to imagine what considerations and alterations the companies can make to the merger — other than simply calling it off — that would convince regulators to change their minds.