In the strongest sign yet that AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile, may be getting ready to walk away from their proposed merger, the companies have announced that they are putting their trial against the Justice Department on hold while they “consider alternatives”.
In a retreat, the companies said they are considering "whether and how to revise our current transaction," under which AT&T would buy T-Mobile outright from Deutsche Telekom, a deal U.S. antitrust officials strongly oppose. Meanwhile, people familiar with the matter said the German carrier is internally evaluating various alternative transactions for its U.S. unit, including network-sharing deals, merging it with another wireless carrier or seeking a private-equity cash infusion.
The longer this drags on, the more Deutsche Telekom seems eager to get rid of T-Mobile somehow. Clearly, it prefers to sell to AT&T outright but there appears to be little chance of that deal happening so simply. So what we’re seeing is a scramble to sell assets and attempt to rearrange the parameters of the deal so that AT&T gets T-Mobile’s assets and customers, DT gets AT&T”s money, and the US government is satisfied.