AT&T (News - Alert) has been looking at different strategies to convince the Justice Department that the carrier is not breaching any antitrust regulations in its bid to acquire T-Mobile (News - Alert) USA. To address government’s concern about the proposed AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T and T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom AG have been looking into selling off mainly T-Mobile USA assets to other wireless carriers. However, this latest plan to sell T-Mobile assets has not been working for the company, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Sources closer to this deal told the Journal that the latest signs indicate that AT&T may dump the $39 billion T-Mobile acquisition pact.
With acquisition deal not working due to Justice Department’s antitrust suit, AT&T may be exploring alternative business plans with T-Mobile, according to sources close to the situation, wrote WSJ reporters Anupreeta Das, Gina Chon and Anton Troianovski. At this point, a complete merger of the two carriers looks unlikely, said the sources. As per the sources, alternative options include taking a stake in the smaller company or creating a joint venture to share network technology. While chances of a complete acquisition look remote, all other options to exploit T-Mobile’s services and connections in the US are on the table, the sources told WSJ.
Meanwhile, Germany's Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA’s owner, has already announced that the company wants to exit the U.S. telecom market, where it lost nearly 850,000 contract customers in 2011.
The sources told WSJ that the partners had been in serious discussions to sell over 30 percent of the assets to Leap Wireless International Inc. In addition, the carriers were also talking to other potential buyers of T-Mobile assets, which include satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp., cellular operator MetroPCS Communications Inc. and some overseas buyers.
The business talks with Leap Wireless (News - Alert) failed because T-Mobile and its owners were convinced that this deal was not going to change Justice Department’s decision to block the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile. Consequently, “the two companies said last week they were putting the court fight with the Justice Department on hold to consider "whether and how to revise our current transaction," wrote Das, Chon and Troianovski.
Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Rich Steeves