States suing to block T-Mobile's proposed acquisition of Sprint urged the federal judge overseeing the landmark antitrust trial not to defer to the Trump administration’s approval of the $26.5 billion deal. Lawyers for NY and CA, which are leading the lawsuit for the states, said in a filing late Jan 8 that the deal’s approval by the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t carry any special weight and should be ignored by the judge.
Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons aid he’s prepared to break up major technology platforms if necessary by undoing their past mergers as his agency investigates whether companies are harming competition. Chairman Simons, who is leading a broad review of the technology sector, said that breaking up a company is challenging, but could be the right remedy to rein in dominant companies and restore competition. “If you have to, you do it,” Chairman Simons said about breaking up tech companies. “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to you have to.”
Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into Facebook for possible antitrust violations, an early-stage probe that is examining competition in its oldest business -- social media. The agency has already contacted third parties that could aid in the investigation as it tries to understand competitive dynamics. Though the company has made many acquisitions and expanded into new businesses, including messaging, virtual reality and e-commerce, the FTC’s probe is focused on its most long-standing offering -- social networking.
Apparently, the Department of Justice is poised to approve T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint under a divestiture plan that would equip satellite-TV operator Dish Network with the building blocks for a new wireless network. The companies have spent weeks negotiating with antitrust enforcers and each other over the sale of assets to Dish to satisfy concerns that the more than $26 billion merger of the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers by subscribers would hurt competition.
Apparently, top Justice Department officials want T-Mobile US and Sprint to lay the groundwork for a new wireless carrier -- with its own network -- as a condition to clearing their $26.5 billion merger. But the idea of spinning off a full-fledged national competitor would be a high bar for T-Mobile and Sprint to meet. T-Mobile and Sprint, the two smallest national wireless carriers, have to weigh whether the remedies offered to gain approval are too onerous.
T-Mobile suffered a significant setback in its bid for regulatory approval of its takeover of Sprint after failing to win over the Department of Justice (DOJ) with a remedy package, putting pressure on the companies to offer more concessions.
Apparently, the Justice Department is leaning against approving T-Mobile's proposed takeover of Sprint, even after the companies won the backing of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. The remedies proposed by the wireless carriers on May 20 don’t go far enough to resolve the department’s concerns that the deal risks harming competition, apparently. While the FCC considers whether a merger is in the public interest, the Justice Department considers a different standard: whether a deal hurts competition and would raise prices for consumers.
The 63-page filing by T-Mobile the week fo March 4 was meant to demonstrate that its purchase of rival Sprint is in the public interest. Yet the filing’s appearance -- which prompted US regulators to pause their review -- had some observers wondering if it’s a sign of trouble for the $26.5 billion deal. “At this stage of the game, filing something elaborate like this is not a sign of strength,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, a media lawyer at Georgetown University Law Center.
The Federal Communications Commission paused its review of T-Mobile's proposed purchase of Sprint, adding to an already protracted battle to win approval to combine the third- and fourth-largest US wireless providers. The move from the Republican-led agency created fresh turmoil for the $26.5 billion merger, which has been under review for more than eight months. “All indications were this would be decided in the next few weeks” but now it appears “they haven’t made the case to the policy makers,” said Gigi Sohn, a former FCC aide and merger opponent.
State antitrust enforcers are expressing deep concerns that T-Mobile's proposed takeover of Sprint could raise prices for consumers, signaling they might seek to thwart the deal. Some state attorneys general who are investigating the $26 billion transaction took the unusual step this week of publicly voicing worries that the combination could harm competition, offering insight for the first time into how they view the tie-up.