AT&T issues statement on Department of Justice action

Shortly after the U.S. government moved to block AT&T’s (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.) $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (Bonn, Germany), AT&T issued a statement making it rather apparent that the service provider did not know about the governments intensions beforehand.

In the statement AT&T says they are “surprised and disappointed” by the government’s actions, especially after AT&T met with the Department of Justice (DOJ), who gave no indication that an action was being considerate by the government.

AT&T went on to say that they will ask for an expedited hearing, and that the DOJ is the one with the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive affects for the merger.

“We intend to vigorously contest this matter in court,” said Wayne Watts, senior executive vice president and general counsel at AT&T. “At the end of the day, we believe facts will guide any final decision.”

According to the statement, the merger will solve the U.S. spectrum exhaust situation, allow AT&T to expand 4G LTE mobile broadband and add additional jobs and investments.

According to a Reuters report, two other big communications deals, MCI's proposed takeover of Sprint in 1999 and EchoStar Communications Corp's deal to buy Hughes Electronic Corp's DirecTV in 2001, fell apart after the Justice Department challenged the deals.

If the decision is blocked by the court, AT&T would have to pay a breakup fee estimated at $6 billion, including $3 billion in cash, spectrums and a roaming agreement for T-Mobile USA.

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