Monday, 01 June, 2020


Sprint/T-Mobile merger gets federal judge approval

Sprint/T-Mobile merger gets federal judge approval Sprint/T-Mobile merger gets federal judge approval
Melba Vasquez | 13 February, 2020, 05:52

Just as had been rumored earlier this week, a federal judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, rejecting the antitrust concerns raised by a group of states, including California and NY. "After the merger, T-Mobile has committed to bringing 5G to 97 percent of our nation's population within three years and 99 percent of Americans within six years". Wall Street investment analysts suggested there was a significant slowdown in tower activities while T-Mobile awaited the outcome of the deal.

The court decision, which came about six months after the acquisition was approved by the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, rejected a collective antitrust lawsuit by 13 states including NY and California, as well as the District of Columbia, which demanded an injunction on the transaction. They also promised that prices wouldn't rise and accelerate the rollout of new, ultra-fast 5G mobile network. They sued in June 2019, even before the merger was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. T-Mobile and Sprint expect the transaction to be completed as early as April 1.

T-Mobile and Sprint haven't renewed the merger agreement since it lapsed on November 1.

Ergen needs strategic partners to help defray the $8 billion to $10 billion Dish says it will take to build the nation's fourth-largest cellular network, sources said.

T-Mobile will acquire Sprint, and the Sprint brand will cease to exist.

The court rejected an argument from a group of states that the merger would negatively impact consumer choices and substantially limit competition.

To win federal approval, T-Mobile and Sprint had agreed to sell multiple assets to Dish in order to create a new fourth competitor. The companies pledged to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in May that they would deploy a 5G network covering 97% of the USA population within three years and 99% within six.

"Today was a huge victory for this merger ... and now we are FINALLY able to focus on the last steps to get this merger done!" said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile US, in a statement.

Why it matters: The decision turns back a legal challenge from a coalition of state attorneys general that had been the largest remaining hurdle for the deal, though it still requires a few more approvals.

New York's attorney general said the state is considering an appeal; California's attorney general said that state is "prepared to fight".

The CPUC Public Advocates Office, an independent entity within the CPUC charged with looking after the interests of state utility customers, has said, "The proposed merger lacks specific, measurable, and verifiable California benefits and would cause irreparable damage to competition in the wireless market and the low-income consumer market". Judge Victor Marrero ruled in favor of T-Mobile, seeming to gush over the corporation in his remarks.

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