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Bloomberg: AT&T to offer to sell 'as much as 40 percent' of T-Mobile to get merger approved

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A Bloomberg report this afternoon claims that AT&T is preparing a new proposal for the FCC that would see it acquire T-Mobile with as much as 40 percent divestiture.

AT&T Logo
AT&T Logo

In the wake of AT&T's oddly-timed FCC withdrawal yesterday of its proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom, a Bloomberg report this afternoon claims that there's already a Plan B in the works: heavy divestiture. Bloomberg's source says that AT&T may resubmit its proposal with plans to sell off as much as 40 percent of T-Mobile USA's assets — a figure that would probably include a combination of spectrum, infrastructure, and subscribers — though there's no information as to when the resubmission may happen, and apparently, AT&T's decision hasn't yet been finalized.

You might recall that Verizon was required to divest some of Alltel's markets when that acquisition went through a couple years ago (coincidentally, AT&T picked up some of those markets), so it's certainly not without precedent for a deal of this magnitude to require some spinoffs. The real question, though, is how any such divestiture would address the FCC's (and the public's) concerns over reduction in competition: 40 percent of T-Mobile certainly wouldn't be able to compete on a national level, and neither the spectrum nor technology are a good fit for any other player that could go toe-to-toe with AT&T and Verizon.