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DoJ Staffers Signal Early Checkout for Sprint, T-Mobile Merger

Phil Harvey

What if, even after all that money spent lobbying and staying at Trump hotels, T-Mobile and Sprint aren't allowed to merge?

That must be going through T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere's head this week, as The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, is reporting that the Justice Department has told both companies that their deal "is unlikely to be approved as currently structured."

T-Mobile CEO Legere, via Twitter, denied The Journal's story.

The DoJ blocking a big mobile merger is not without precedent. The Justice Department, in 2011, sued to block AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, a deal valued at $39 billion at the time, citing potential harm to consumers with fewer mobile competitors in the US to keep pricing in check.

Looking out for consumers is admirable, but it's tough to know who to please these days in Trump's Washington. William Barr, Trump's attorney general and the man in charge of the DoJ, would be voting against his own pocketbook if he allowed the merger to be approved. Barr "contributes to Verizon Communications' defined contribution plan and had AT&T vested stock options valued at between $250,000 and $500,000 and AT&T dividends valued at between $500,000 and $1 million," according to financial disclosures and a report in the New York Post.

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Phil Harvey, US Bureau Chief, Light Reading

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Phil Harvey
Phil Harvey
4/16/2019 | 6:09:04 PM
Legere calls WSJ story "untrue"
UPDATED at 6:09 PM ET to include Legere's denial, via Twitter.

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