AT&T/T-Mobile merger will (of course) mean higher prices, finds antitrust review

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1850103

Antitrust Review of the AT&T/T-Mobile Transaction

Allen P. Grunes
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

Maurice E. Stucke
University of Tennessee College of Law

Federal Communications Law Journal, Forthcoming

Abstract:
In this Essay, we review AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, Inc., under federal merger law, under the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission’s 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines, and with a focus on possible remedies. We find, under a rule of law approach, that the proposed acquisition is presumptively anticompetitive, and the merging parties in their public disclosures have failed to overcome this presumption. Next we find that under the Merger Guidelines, there is reason to believe that the transaction may result in higher prices to consumers under several different plausible theories. Finally, we turn to the question of possible remedies. We conclude that there is a high likelihood that divestitures will not solve the competitive problems, and make the case for enjoining the acquisition.

Keywords: Clayton Act, merger, antitrust

JEL Classifications: G34, K21, L40, L41, L43, L96
Accepted Paper Series

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