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Deutsche Telekom caught off-guard by DOJ’s move to block AT&T/T-Mobile deal

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:27PM EST

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The U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to file a lawsuit in an attempt to block AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA caught Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann off-guard while he was meeting with a team of managers and his supervisory board, a board member told Bloomberg on Thursday. Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and T-Mobile had all been confident that the deal would be approved in March of next year. Speaking during the IFA trade show in Berlin, head of Deutsche Telekom Germany Niek Jan van Damme echoed AT&T’s commitment to continue to fight for the deal’s approval. “We’re staying in it,” Van Damme said. “Other scenarios were not being discussed. When you are in a deal, you stick to that deal, a clear focus on that deal.” Obermann has said his company will work with AT&T to contest the DOJ’s lawsuit, which Van Damme seemed to shrug off. “When it comes to larger M&A deals in the US, these things happen,” he said. “This isn’t an exception. We have everything under control.” If the federal government does successfully block the deal, AT&T will be required to pay T-Mobile USA $6 billion in cash and assets.



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