Reports from Bloomberg and the WSJ this morning say that the United States Justice Department is looking to block AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile on antitrust grounds.
According to the Bloomberg report, the Justice Department filed its complaint in federal court, which included the following excerpt:
“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market.”
Additional details on the government filing are still scant — we’ll update as there’s more.
Previous reports indicate that should the deal not go through, AT&T will owe T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom more than $6 billion, including $3 billion in cash and wireless spectrum in some areas.
Update: Here’s a statement from FCC chairman Julius Genachowski:
“By filing suit today, the Department of Justice has concluded that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would substantially lessen competition in violation of the antitrust laws. Competition is an essential component of the FCC’s statutory public interest analysis, and although our process is not complete, the record before this agency also raises serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition. Vibrant competition in wireless services is vital to innovation, investment, economic growth and job creation, and to drive our global leadership in mobile. Competition fosters consumer benefits, including more choices, better service and lower prices.”