AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens sounded defiant today at a media conference in New York. Stephens made it clear that AT&T was going to move ahead with the deal to buy T-Mobile US despite the heavy opposition in regulatory circles. Easier said than done, though. Both the Justice Department and FCC have come out against the deal, and AT&T has not been a terribly good sport thus far.
The Justice Department filed suit last month to block the $39 billion deal, and the FCC announced official hearings recently. Both groups claim that the merger would hinder competition in the wireless market, and kill jobs. AT&T made the call to withdraw its FCC application in order to focus on the DOJ suit. The carrier had harsh words after the FCC released its preliminary opinion of the deal in a scathing 100+ page report.
Egos are bruised, and that’s a recipe for disaster in delicate situations like this. Stephens says that AT&T has the resources to close the deal, but it’s not clear if they some magic bullet strategy to gain regulatory approval. Do you think AT&T is going to succeed?