According to the Wall Street Journal, the antitrust lawsuit against AT&T’s T-Mobile merger may be either postponed or withdrawn by the Department of Justice sometime next week. DOJ lawyer Joseph Wayland explained that the expedited court proceedings were no longer needed since AT&T had withdrawn its merger application from the FCC. But this isn’t necessarily good news for AT&T.
AT&T’s been struggling to push through its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile since March of this year. But the company was sued by the DOJ in August and later hit with a request for a administrative hearing by the FCC. This culminated in AT&T withdrawing its FCC application on the basis that it needed to focus on completing the DOJ lawsuit. The quick completion of the case was essential to move the merger forward.
But now, Wayland reveals that the DOJ could either postpone or completely withdraw its case since AT&T has withdrawn its FCC filing. He says that the DOJ case is really only needed if and when the FCC is approached again by AT&T seeking approval of the merger. This delay could put more pressure on T-Mobile to call off the deal, which would require AT&T to pay a $4 billion breakup fee.