When AT&T tried to acquire T-Mobile back in 2011, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that there was no way AT&T should be allowed by regulators to acquire T-Mobile — only Sprint should be allowed to acquire T-Mobile. It took three years, but Sprint will soon see how regulators feel about its plans to merge with T-Mobile. Hesse was incredibly vocal in opposing AT&T’s attempted T-Mobile takeover. While it looks like AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson won’t fight the Sprint/T-Mobile deal quite as vigorously, he did have some thoughts to share on the matter.
“The problem as I see it is the way the government shut our deal down. They wrote a complaint and a very specific complaint. You’re consolidating the industry from four to three national competitors,” Stephenson said during an event in Washington, D.C., according to Re/code. “If you think of Sprint and T-Mobile combining, I struggle to understand how that’s not four going to three.”
As far as T-Mobile is concerned, the worst-case scenario here is that it collects another massive breakup fee. AT&T paid out $3 billion in cash and another $1 billion or so in spectrum rights after its merger attempt fell through, and reports suggest Sprint has agreed to a $2 billion breakup fee.
Sprint is in a far worse position if the deal falls through, as the carrier continues to shed subscribers each quarter.