Most Read: Business

DJIA
0.15%
NASDAQ
0.36%
 Last Update: : AM 12/22/2014(NASDAQ&DJIA) |

World Markets from      

 

Other Market Data from      

 

Key Rates from      

 

Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 02:47 PM ET, 12/12/2011

AT&T, Justice agree to postpone case as companies scramble to salvage deal

Updated at 3 p.m.

AT&T and T-Mobile on Monday asked a federal judge to postpone an antitrust lawsuit as the companies were assessing “whether and how” to proceed with their $39 billion mega-merger.

The announcement signals that the deal as originally conceived is all but dead. The two companies could still seek ways to retool the terms to address the concerns of regulators.

The decision comes after Washington regulators from two agencies — the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission — sought to block the deal, saying it could lead to higher prices for consumers and stifle competition. The union would have combined the second- and fourth-largest wireless providers.

Justice sued in August to block the deal. Last month, the FCC said it would not approve it either. AT&T had planned to use its lawsuit with Justice to prove its case in court and use that victory to convince FCC officials. But when Justice attorneys last week said it would postpone or withdraw its case so that AT&T couldn’t use the case to influence other regulators, AT&T officials saw the writing on the wall.

The federal judge overseeing the case, Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, agreed Monday to the companies’ request. She had revealed last week that she was skeptical of AT&T’s strategy.

AT&T said it still wants to explore a new construction of the deal that may appease federal regulators. Last month, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said he opposed the deal. AT&T responded by withdrawing its application at the FCC.

"AT&T is committed to working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution that is in the best interests of our respective customers, shareholders and employees,” AT&T said in a statement. “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 assets."

Analysts called the companies’ move a last-ditch effort and that the odds were against a reworked deal that would appease regulators.

“To say AT&T’s back is against the wall is a huge understatement,” said Jeff Silva, an analyst at Global Medley Advisors. “It’s even unclear whether a restructured deal would fair much better in this administration.”

 

More from The Washington Post:

How AT&T’s lobbying operation fumbled the bid

Timeline: Key moments in the proposed deal

AT&T slams FCC’s report on merger

This post has been upated since it was first published.

By  |  02:47 PM ET, 12/12/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company