Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who was recently arrested and charged with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering, may be able to reclaim his seized assets due to a botched court order, according to a report from the New Zealand Herald. Police raided Dotcom’s home on January 19th and seized, among other valuable assets, his cash, cars and mansion. New Zealand police have admitted to making a “procedural error” when filing documents to seize Dotcom’s property, however. A court has ruled that the incorrect restraining order is “null and void” and has “no legal effect.” The publication states there is no guarantee Dotcom will get his assets back though, as his lawyers must first prove a lack of good faith when the procedural error was made. More →
MetroPCS is interested in purchasing spectrum and subscribers from AT&T and T-Mobile, Bloomberg said Friday. Leap Wireless and Dish Network were also approached and Leap may still be interested in making an offer. The deal with MetroPCS would likely amount to less than $4 billion. In August, The Wall Street Journal revealed AT&T had hired Bank of America’s Merill Lynch to advise it on selling as much as $8 billion in assets. Later that month, the United States government sued to block the planned merger when the U.S. Justice Department said the deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the U.S. wireless market. Read on for more. More →
AT&T has approached several U.S. wireless carriers offering to sell assets, spectrum and wireless subscribers in an effort to win the government’s blessing for its planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Bloomberg reported on Monday. MetroPCS, Leap Wireless, CenturyLink, Dish Network and Sprint were among the the companies approached in the private talks. AT&T’s move is no doubt a response to recent lawsuits that were filed by the Department of Justice and Sprint. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on August 31st in an attempt to block the merger, which it said would “remove a significant competitive force from the market.” Seven U.S. states also joined the DOJ’s suit last week. Sprint sued on September 6th and said the merger would “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. AT&T’s discussions to sell assets may not be enough to sway the Department of Justice in AT&T’s favor and the talks are still preliminary, Bloomberg said. More →
AT&T has hired Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch to advise it on the sale of as much as $8 billion in assets in an effort to gain the government’s approval of its planned T-Mobile acquisition. According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T will try to sell off its network assets in an attempt water down its market power, but most of of the assets could actually be T-Mobile’s holdings. “As we said on the day we announced the merger with T-Mobile USA, we anticipate there will be some divestitures, as we have had in past mergers, but any speculation about the amount of divestitures is premature,” an AT&T spokesperson told The Journal. On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission pumped the brakes on the merger when it announced that it will roll in AT&T’s planned acquisition of Qualcomm’s FLOTV spectrum into its overall decision on the T-Mobile purchase. AT&T has said that the acquisition is on schedule for approval in March of next year.
Here’s a head scratcher. During a speech today in New York City, Deutsche Telecom CEO, Rene Obermann, told investors that T-Mobile USA would consider “selling nonstrategic assets such as its broadcast cellular towers in order to raise additional funds for capital spending.” We were under the distinct impression that cellular towers were, in fact, capital assets (especially for a wireless provider). It is also a little disconcerting that the towers were referred to as “nonstrategic.”
“We’re definitely not in a rush,” said Olbermann, “the financials [would have to] work out.”
T-Mobile USA’s CEO, Phillip Humm, promised investors $3 billion in revenue growth over the next few years; T-Mobile’s revenues have been, for the most part, flat over the past two years. More →
Verizon Wireless customers in the 79 markets that AT&T acquired are being alerted that they will soon be AT&T customers. A welcoming letter detailing the initial phase of the transition is being sent out to this lucky group of Verizon Wireless subscribers and one of our readers was kind enough to share the letter with us. The letter confirms that AT&T is activating its service on a market-by-market basis and is working on integrating the two disparate networks. Once integration is complete, AT&T will transition customers over to its service, plans, and handsets shortly thereafter. In a bit of irony, these Big Red customers will be the first to have an iPhone 4. Any Verizon Wireless customers a bit jealous?