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DOJ seeking postponement in AT&T / T-Mobile acquisition case

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The Department of Justice has told a federal judge today that it would like court proceedings in its bid to stop an AT&T / T-Mobile merger to be delayed.

AT&T Logo
AT&T Logo

Since AT&T has formally withdrawn its application, it was an open question whether the Department of Justice would press on with its lawsuit to block the company's proposed purchase of T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom — a lawsuit with an "expedited" trial scheduled to begin on February 13th of next year. A DOJ lawyer just answered that question today, telling a federal judge that it will ask that the case either be stayed or withdrawn entirely until AT&T re-files a new application with the FCC. Publicly, AT&T has remained firm that it intends to continue pursuing a deal, hinting that it's willing to negotiate with the feds — presumably meaning a divestiture deal — but for the moment, there's no new proposal on the table.

Perhaps more alarmingly for AT&T, the judge overseeing the proceedings indicated today that she may not be willing to expedite this case going forward, saying "the landscape has changed" and apparently expressing some level of frustration that AT&T had withdrawn its original proposal. For its part, AT&T insisted that it wasn't "playing some strategic game," but let's be honest: everything that happens in the Beltway is a strategic game on some level.