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US government ‘trying to halt AT&T’s T-Mobile takeover’

Department of Justice attempting to block bn merger on antitrust grounds, according to reports

The US government has attempted to block the bn (£24bn) takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T, according to reports.

The department of justice filed court papers in Washington in an attempt to halt the merger on antitrust grounds, according to Bloomberg.

“AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market,” the department of justice reportedly said in its filing.

The multibillion-dollar merger, announced in March, would be create the largest mobile provider in the US with 130 million customers, reducing the number of players in the market from four to three.

The US telecoms giant AT&T is the second largest network in the US, behind Verizon Wireless, with T-Mobile the number four network. Sprint Nextel is the other remaining large operator in the country, with the third largest service.

AT&T proposed in March to pay bn in cash for T-Mobile USA and the rest in stock, giving T-Mobile’s German parent an 8% stake in AT&T. The agreement was approved by the boards of directors at both AT&T and Deutsche Telekom.

Regulators have pored over the terms and implications of the deal for months, given its size and scale. AT&T’s shares were down 3.85% in early-morning trading on the New York stock exchange, trading at .53.

The DoJ had not returned requests to comment at the time of publication. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds