AT&T and Deutsche Telekom have just asked the judge overseeing proceedings in their T-Mobile acquisition case with the Department of Justice that they would like to hold off on any further action until January 18th "to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options." The DOJ joined in the filing, so it would seem that everyone is in agreement here — pending some unusual action on the part of the judge, the request is likely to be granted, particularly considering her previous indication that she might not be willing to grant an expedited process the next time AT&T files a merger proposal.
It's hard to say exactly which "options" AT&T and DT are considering at this point, but they do say that they're "actively considering whether and how to revise [their] current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals." In anything resembling its originally-proposed form, it would seem that both the DOJ and FCC would wage war to prevent the deal from going through. A joint venture and heavy divestitures have both been rumored as possible Plan Bs — but it's also possible that AT&T could simply walk away from the deal, leaving $3 billion in cash and another billion worth of spectrum to T-Mobile in the process.
Here's the full statement:
AT&T and Deutsche Telekom advised Judge Huvelle this morning that they wish to stay any further Court proceedings until January 18, 2012, to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options. The U.S. Department of Justice joined in the filing.
AT&T is committed to working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution that is in the best interests of our respective customers, shareholders and employees. We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals so that we can deliver the capacity enhancements and improved customer service that can only be derived from combining our two companies' wireless assets.