Surprise: Justice Department Says AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Would Be Anticompetitive

Wow! Well, this is a bit of a surprise. The US government, who had been rubber stamping various mergers for a while now, especially in the telco/broadband space, may finally have had enough. The Justice Department has officially moved to block the merger, technically filing a lawsuit against it on antitrust grounds. From the beginning, most people had assumed that no one would block the merger, though in the last few weeks there were definite rumblings suggesting that the tides were shifting. Even so, having the DOJ jump in with a lawsuit is a surprise. AT&T insists that the move was a surprise to it as well, which is also a bit odd. Typically, the DOJ tends to telegraph this kind of move, in order to either pre-emptively end the merger attempt or to get much greater concessions. It’s not entirely clear what pushed the DOJ off the fence on this one, but AT&T accidentally revealing that it had lied about the key reasons for the merger couldn’t have helped…

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