The already-bloody battle over AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA recently became an all-out war. Sprint has been vocal with its opposition of the merger since day one, and comments from company CEO Dan Hesse on Wednesday may have shed some light on a previously undisclosed reason for Sprint’s stance. “I don’t believe that what the DOJ said in any way, not even a little bit, should be viewed as we want to keep four,” Hesse said at an investor conference. “My view is [the Justice Department] would look at other consolidation very differently.” Hesse went on to suggest that a “very strong argument” could be made that regulators would approve a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. In light of these comments, AT&T has gone on record in stating that Sprint has been lying about its motives for the past several months. Read on for more.
“Yesterday, the CEO of Sprint said the Department of Justice should block AT&T from merging with T-Mobile, but would have good reasons to instead allow Sprint to purchase them,” Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, said in a statement delivered to BGR via email. “For months Sprint has spoken disingenuously about their motives for opposing AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile. Now, Mr. Hesse’s public musings have made their motives much more clear. That they would act in their own economic interest is not surprising. That they would expect the United States Government to be a willing partner certainly is.”
In late August, the United States Department of Justice filed suit against AT&T in an attempt to block the T-Mobile merger. Sprint issued a statement later that day supporting the DOJ suit, stating, “By filing suit to block AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile, the DOJ has put consumers’ interests first.” AT&T responded as well by saying, “The DOJ has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive affects and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court.”