updated 02:50 pm EST, Mon December 12, 2011
ATT hints second thoughts on DOJ trial on merger
AT&T and T-Mobile together asked the judge in the Department of Justice's antitrust lawsuit to stay the process until January 18. The two, supported by the DOJ itself, wanted time to "evaluate all options," the carriers said in a statement. It hinted that no option was off the table, including either major concessions or leaving it unchanged in what would likely be a decision to exit the deal altogether.
"We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals," AT&T said.
At a minimum, the postponement if granted would rule out a merger wrapping up before the one-year anniversary of its announcement in late March this year. The lawsuit itself came after the DOJ concluded that AT&T's proposed sacrifices weren't enough and could see AT&T make very large concessions if it had any hope, such as 40 percent or more of T-Mobile's assets.
AT&T has argued that it can "only" get the network improvements it needs if it buys T-Mobile for $39 billion. That argument may have been dampened by AT&T's own strategy, whose marketing blitz not only sparked questions about the truth of its claims but saw AT&T itself admit that it only needed $3.8 billion for the LTE side of its expansion.