AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile could be headed for a major
revision now that a U.S. district court judge approved a request by AT&T
and the Justice Department to postpone an antitrust trial sought by the
department to prevent the deal.
AT&T said it
sought the postponement to allow it and T-Mobile to "evaluate all options."
In a written
statement, AT&T said, "We are actively considering whether and how to
revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals so
that we can deliver the capacity enhancements and improved customer service
that can only be derived from combining our two companies' wireless
"committed to working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution that is in the
best interests of our respective customers, shareholders and employees," the
The judge approved
a motion to cancel a scheduled February trial and set up a Jan. 18 hearing on
the future of the case.
T-Mobile withdrew their application for approval from the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) three weeks ago after an
FCC staff report blasted the deal as anticompetitive but before the commission
could vote on a proposal by the FCC chairman to send the matter to an
administrative law judge for further review. By law, the FCC could approve the
merger with or without conditions but could not deny it outright without giving
it the additional hearing.
Sprint Nextel has
also filed its own antitrust lawsuit following August's filing of a lawsuit
by the Department of Justice to
block the merger.
Under the current
terms of the merger agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile, AT&T must pay
T-Mobile $3 billion in cash and give the carrier $1 billion is spectrum if the
deal doesn't go through.