AT&T, Centennial Tell FCC Merger Delay a Burden

AT&T Inc. (T) is getting antsy about closing its merger with Centennial Communications Corp. (CYCL).

Executives from both companies met with the FCC this week and said that any more delay in their transaction “will impose a severe burden on Centennial,” according to a filing with the communications agency.

AT&T announced last November the $944 million purchase of Centennial, a mobile-services provider. The deal would add 1.1 million new customers to AT&T’s base, mostly in the Midwest, Southeast and Puerto Rico, and give AT&T 850MHz spectrum in a number of states.

But the two carriers still need approvals from the Justice Department and FCC. It’s unknown what the holdup might be; AT&T already has divested some of its assets, to ward off any antitrust objections, making any conditions for completing the merger “unwarranted,” AT&T said in the filing. They said wireless services competition will remain “robust” in Puerto Rico and that landline service isn’t affected by the deal.

AT&T had hoped to close the merger in the third quarter, but it said last week the transaction won’t wrap until the fourth quarter.

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