Sprint Joins DOJ in Attempt to Block AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

Sprint Nextel on Tuesday announced filing a lawsuit in order to block AT&Ts $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, joining the U.S. Department of Justice in litigation that could put a stop to the controversial merger.

Sprint said the lawsuit was lodged in federal court in the District of Columbia as a related case to the DOJs action, which was filed last week on the basis that the merger would violate antitrust law.

The DOJ and Sprint claim the merger violates Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act.

Susan Z. Haller, Sprints vice president-Litigation, said Sprint anticipates contributing its expertise and resources in proving that the proposed transaction is illegal.”

AT&T has said it intends to battle the DOJ in court, although Reuters reported last week that the company is prepared to make concessions in order to address concerns that the deal is anti-competitive and planned to present a proposed solution to the Justice Department.

Analysts in Washington, D.C., had speculated U.S. regulators would require AT&T to stipulate to specific conditions, including potentially divestitures of assets and customers, in order to approve a deal that would enable AT&T to control more than 132 million wireless customers.

But the deal could fall apart if AT&T is unable to reach a compromise with the DOJ.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-led Federal Communications Commission continues to review the merger to determine whether it is in the public interest.

While the Department of Justice’s complaint indicates that the parties did not convince the Antitrust Division of the merits of the proposed merger, the FCC has not concluded its review of this merger application,” FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn said in a statement Aug. 31.

The information and data requests, which the FCC staff has sent to the applicants and other parties, demonstrate that the FCC is also carefully considering the competitive issues raised by the application to ensure that the public interest is served.”

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