U.S. Files Antitrust Complaint to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

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U.S. Files Antitrust Complaint to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

By Tom Schoenberg – Aug 31, 2011 11:34 AM GMT-0300

Executives at AT&T attend a news conference where it was announced that AT&T Inc. will be buying its wireless rival T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom AG for $39 billion in cash and stock on March 21, 2011 in New York City.

The U.S. government sued to block AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc., saying the deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market.

The Justice Department complaint was filed today in federal court in Washington. The U.S. is seeking a declaration that Dallas-based AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), would violate U.S. antitrust law and a court order blocking any arrangement implementing the deal.

“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the U.S. said in its filing.

AT&T fell 96 cents to $28.66 at 10:31 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Should regulators reject the transaction, AT&T would pay Deutsche Telekom $3 billion in cash. It would also provide T-Mobile with wireless spectrum in some regions and reduced charges for calls into AT&T’s network, for a total package valued at as much as $7 billion, Deutsche Telekom said this month.

Philipp Schindera, a spokesman at Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom, declined to immediately comment.

The case is U.S. v. AT&T Inc. (T), 11-01560, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net

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