AT&T announced this afternoon the company is abandoning its planned $39 billion acquisition of rival T-Mobile USA, a decision that comes just days after asking a federal judge in Washington to postpone antitrust proceedings.
The U.S. Justice Department sued in August in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed merger, and the Federal Communications Commission recently issued a staff report that criticized the deal.
Lawyers for AT&T, represented by Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, joined DOJ antitrust prosecutors in asking Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle on Dec. 12 to stay the antitrust proceedings. The judge approved putting the government’s suit on hold. She then set a Jan. 18 hearing.
AT&T issued a statement that said in part: “The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately.”
The company said it will take a pretax accounting charge of $4 billion this quarter. AT&T said it will enter a “mutually beneficial” roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent company.
The Justice Department did not immediately comment on AT&T’s announcement. A lawyer for AT&T, Mark Hansen, a Kellogg Huber name partner in Washington, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon.