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US: States tell judge to ignore fed support for Sprint/T-Mobile merger

 |  January 12, 2020

States suing to stop the US$26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint urged a federal judge not to defer to the Department of Justice (DOJ) when considering whether the merger is legal. The Trump administration’s DOJ gave the deal a green light earlier this year, but states claim the merger is anticompetitive and will harm consumers. 

In late December, the DOJ, which isn’t a party to the litigation, filed a “Statement of Interest” asking the federal court hearing the case to defer to its view that the proposed merger should be approved. On Wednesday, January 8, the states, led by attorneys general in New York and California, filed a response, stating, “no such deference was warranted.” The states argued that they “are independent enforcers of the antitrust laws, and it is the role of the Court — not any federal agency — to decide the lawfulness of this merger.” 

The states added that the DOJ had conducted “what appears to be only a cursory examination of the approval conditions,” and that the states had investigated the deal for 15 months, reported CNET. The states also took issue with the DOJ’s claims that they hadn’t considered the companies’ promised benefits of faster 5G services for rural residents should the merger go through.

“The Plaintiff States are home to some 19 million rural Americans — nearly a third of the national rural population,” the filing states. “Indeed, the total rural population in the Plaintiff States is more than 30% larger than the rural population in the States that joined the DOJ settlement.”

Full Content: CNet

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