AT&T received a resounding show of support for its acquisition of T-Mobile USA when the Attorneys General of 11 states yesterday sent a letter to the FCC and Department of Justice asking for expeditious review and approval of the deal.
The letter was signed by the AGs of Arkansas, Utah, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“We fully recognize that this merger may raise competitive concerns in some discrete local
markets and that the U.S. Department of Justice or Federal Communications Commission may impose targeted remedies to ensure that consumers continue to benefit from robust competition and that the merger is in the public interest,” the letter read in part.
They urged approval, “with appropriate and carefully-crafted merger-specific remedies and conditions as the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission determine may be needed to protect competition and the public interest without unduly delaying the merger or undermining the synergies, economies or benefits of the merger.”
Naturally, AT&T was pleased to get the support. “These chief state law enforcement officers understand their respective state’s needs and see the merger as advancing the public interest,” said Wayne Watts, senior executive vice president and general counsel of AT&T, in a statement. “Their call for federal regulators to expeditiously review and approve the merger further builds on our unprecedented nationwide support from federal, state and local elected officials, national unions, non-profit organizations, and high-tech and venture capital firms.”
Earlier this month, AGs in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington asked Sprint to provide them with unredacted copies of documents it had filed earlier with the FCC about the AT&T deal.
In a statement yesterday, Sprint spokesman John Taylor noted that the AGs from 11 states are actively investigating the takeover. Sprint is cooperating with their investigations and stands ready to cooperate with any other Attorneys General that are looking into the competitive impacts of the deal.
On Tuesday of this week, Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell told the AGs of Arkansas and Utah that his agency believes a statement in support of the merger is premature. His office is still reviewing information gathered from other states and monitoring regulatory developments at the federal and state levels, particularly in the area of economic models used in the merger proposal.