AT&T Withdraws FCC Application to Buy T-Mobile

AT&T has withdrawn its application requesting Federal Communications Commission approval to acquire T-Mobile USA after the top official at the agency circulated an order that indicated strong opposition to the deal.

But the Dallas-based telecommunications giant noted in a blog that the company and T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom AG, would continue to pursue antitrust clearance for the $39 billion agreement “from the Department of Justice either through the litigation pending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia … or alternate means.”

AT&T is set to square off against the Justice Department during a February trial over whether the merger between the nation’s second- and fourth-largest wireless providers is anticompetitive.

“As soon as practical, AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG intend to seek the necessary FCC approval,” AT&T added in the blog. “As a result of the FCC’s action, AT&T expects to recognize a pretax accounting charge of $4 billion ($3 billion cash and $1 billion book value of spectrum) in the 4th quarter of 2011 to reflect the potential break up fees due Deutsche Telekom in the event the transaction does not receive regulatory approval.”

Last week FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated an order to his colleagues that would have referred the matter to a hearing before an administrative law judge. FCC officials have expressed opposition to the deal in comments to the media.

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