State AGs Sue To Block Sprint/T-Mobile Merger

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Ten or more state attorneys general are reportedly gearing up to jointly file suit to block the $26 billion merger of Sprint and T-Mobile.

Reuters, citing thee sources familiar with the matter, reported the attorney general of New York is leading the lawsuit. The AGs are concerned because the deal would lower the number of wireless carriers in the U.S. to three from four. Later Tuesday (June 11) the New York AG is holding a press conference, the news outlet reported. One source said the lawsuit will be filed in New York.

A source familiar with the matter noted that the chief executives of Sprint and T-Mobile met with the Justice Department about the merger on Monday (June 10). The Federal Communications Commission has already signed off on the merger while the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust unit has called on the agency to not let the merger go forward. The DoJ hasn’t made a final decision, according to the report.

If Sprint and T-Mobile’s latest deal is scuttled if would be the third time the two companies tried to hook up. In late April of 2018, T-Mobile and Sprint announced the $26 billion merger. The aim when the deal was announced was to have it close in the first half of 2019. The all-stock deal has T-Mobile exchanging 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom will own 42 percent of the combined company — which will be known as T-Mobile — and Sprint parent SoftBank Group will own 27 percent. The remaining 31 percent will be held by the public.

The two companies have already said they would sell assets to win approval for the deal. One of those assets is Boost Mobile, the prepaid wireless cellphone service. Selling Boost would will lower the firm’s market share in the prepaid wireless market. The buyer of Boost has to ensure it would continue operations so that consumers still have choices. T-Mobile and Sprint are also looking at unloading wireless spectrum to get the deal closed. Reports in late May said Amazon was interested in acquiring Boost Mobile.