Saturday, May 14, 2011

USA - AT&T has a potential penalty of USD 6 billion if its acquisition of T-Mobile falls through

[venture beat] We already knew that AT&T had promised T-Mobile a $3 billion breakup fee if their merger isn’t approved by regulatory agencies, but now it appears that AT&T may have another $3 billion worth of assets at stake in the deal, Reuters reports.

That extra $3 billion includes $2 billion worth of wireless spectrum and a roaming agreement valued at $1 billion, sources told the news agency. A $6 billion breakup fee would be worth about 15.4 percent of AT&T’s $39 billion T-Mobile deal, potentially breaking global records, Reuters notes.

With so much at stake, the news tells us that AT&T must be even more confident about the merger’s approval than we previously thought. And in the slight off-chance the deal falls through, T-Mobile will make a bit of a killing just for being courted.

Opposition to the merger emerged almost immediately after AT&T proposed the deal in March. Speaking off the record, an FCC official said that the deal will face a “steep climb” towards approval. Sprint also didn’t waste any time opposing it. And this past Wednesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defended the merger to an exceedingly skeptical Senate committee.

The deal still needs to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice.

Reuters’ estimates come from analyst and consultant figures. AT&T likely doesn’t have a full $6 billion on the line with the deal, but whatever is at stake is certainly much more than $3 billion.

AT&T could lose up to $6B if T-Mobile deal falls through

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