Pressure Mounts from US Lawmakers to Block AT&T Takeover of T-Mobile
For several weeks, speculation about US lawmakers intervening in the proposed AT&T takeover of T-Mobile had largely died down. But this morning, Capitol Hill is buzzing with chatter of the pending $39 billion deal following yesterday's impassioned comments from Sen. Herb Kohl, chair of the Senate’s Antitrust Subcommitteee.
”I have concluded that this acquisition, if permitted to proceed, would likely cause substantial harm to competition and consumers, would be contrary to antitrust law and not in the public interest, and therefore should be blocked by your agencies,” Senator Kohl said on Wednesday.
What's interesting about Kohl, however, is that he famously supported the Comcast joint venture with NBC Universal - never uttering a word about possibly blocking the deal. But now the game has changed. How so? Kohl is retiring from the Senate next year and, according to Washington insiders, has become a bit of a "free spirit."
"Kohl is the first of influential lawmakers to say the deal should be rejected," the Washington Post reported yesterday. Although one lone man cannot block the merger, it appears that Kohl's stance has motivated some of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to take up his side of the argument too.
In a public letter to the FCC and the Justice Department this week, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Edward Markey, and House Judiciary ranking member Rep. John Conyers, wrote the following: “We believe that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy–a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace. Such industry consolidation could reduce competition and increase consumer costs at a time our country can least afford it.”
Source: Washington Post