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SCOTT JAGOW: It seemed like a couple of huge mergers were done deals. AT&T and SBC, Verizon with MCI, but a federal judge wants to give these unions a second look. Marketplace’s Steve Tripoli.
STEVE TRIPOLI: US District Judge Emmet Sullivan wants documents by today supporting the government’s blessing for the mergers. Sullivan says he doesn’t have enough information to finalize the deals.
The mergers have already been consummated. Bob Atkinson of Columbia University’s Institute for Tele-Information says Sullivan can’t change that, but he may be able to change other things.
BOB ATKINSON: “The judge presumably could make some determinations that additional conditions might be needed to make the mergers ‘in the public interest’ as he describes it.”
The four companies’ competitors, public interest groups and New York’s attorney general are all lining up to tell the judge what’s wrong with the mergers.
Atkinson says this could spark a fight.
ATKINSON: “Realistically, if the judge decided to add or change the conditions you can be sure that that decision would be appealed, and so the appellate process would take many, many years.”
Judge Sullivan’s decision to push for a review caught many industry-watchers by surprise.
I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.