Monday, December 12, 2011

AT&T & T-Mobile Reaching the Final Act

There was a terrific piece in the Washington Post at the end of last week, detailing AT&T's lobbying strategy and approach to win approval of its $39B acquisition of T-Mobile.  It's well worth a read, detailing as it does the combination of hubris and overreach that may have sunk the deal's chances.

The acquisition was a risky bet to begin with, but one takeaway for would-be acquirers must be this:  If you're going to tout social benefits (in this case, the creation of 100,000 new jobs) in your lobbying efforts, be prepared to back up your claim with the solidest of solid analysis.

Because if you can't, then the rest of your arguments - and make no mistake, AT&T had several good ones re the benefits of this merger - are going to suffer badly by association.  You'll have just handed those opposing your deal the club with which to smash your head in.

And today, AT&T has joined the DOJ in asking for a stay of the antitrust trial it had been so ardently pushing forward.  This no doubt foretells the deal being scuttled or significantly re-arranged.

Here's one vote for the former - I'd much rather see AT&T in full-throated competition with Verizon than distracting itself trying to put together a less-than-optimal deal.

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