While AT&T has publicly said it is considering ways to restructure its plan to purchase T-Mobile USA for $39 billion will end the Justice Dept.’s suit to block the merger — and the FCC’s plan to put up regulatory speed bumps — a news report claims that there are new signs that the Death Star may be looking to retreat.
According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T had been in talks with Leap, Dish and MetroPCS about selling off post-merger assets to these smaller companies in order to make the deal more palatable to regulators. The asset sales to Leap alone would have represented at least 30% of the merger’s value, reports the Journal.
But those discussion have come to a halt over concerns that even these divestitures would not be enough to win over the DOJ.
Given that AT&T would owe upward of $4 billion in cash and spectrum to T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom if this deal falls through, the Journal’s sources point out that there are other options being considered, like AT&T buying a stake in T-Mobile (but not the whole deal) or some sort of joint tech-sharing venture.