In spite of the antitrust lawsuit recent filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, AT&T has been hard at work to make sure their pending T-Mobile acquisition doesn’t fall apart. Sources close to the situation say that AT&T is reportedly working on a “two-track plan” to address the DoJ’s concerns and make sure the merger goes through.
While Reuters can’t confirm with certainty the specifics of the plan, AT&T is said to be preparing itself to make concessions in an effort assuage federal fears that the merger will reduce competition and raise wireless costs. Among the concessions on the table are the sale of T-Mobile’s assets and the possible retention of T-Mobile’s value-oriented rate plans.
While some sources say that AT&T is feeling confident about their new solution, other say that in order to make the deal work, AT&T may have to sell nearly 25% of T-Mobile’s network and customer base. That’s assuming they can wrangle up some buyers: while their regional assets will likely be snapped up fairly quickly by smaller carriers looking to grow out their coverage, their national assets have fewer potential buyers.
Sprint and Verizon are the two main possibilities, but don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, as an acquisition like that could spark antitrust investigations of its own. Sprint was reportedly in talks with Deutsche Telekom about their own potential T-Mobile merger earlier this year, but even if they went for T-Mobile’s assets, the risk may not be worth the reduced payout.
Speaking of payouts, AT&T would have to shell out $6 billion in compensatory fees to T-Mo’s parent company Deutsche Telekom if the deal falls through. There’s a lot on the line here for AT&T, and while they seem fairly sure in their approach, the Department of Justice may soon let the air out of their tires… again.