AT&T, DOJ headed for February trial over T-Mobile USA buy

There was no settlement following yesterday's court date that came about because of the Justice Department's challenge of AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

Instead, AT&T is seeking a swift trial to oppose the DOJ's challenge, an AT&T lawyer said during an hour-long hearing. The judge set a trial date for Feb. 13.

"We're seeking a prompt trial because we're very interested in closing this transaction," Mark Hansen, of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC in Washington, said during the hearing. "We need to have the cloud of uncertainty removed. We're already a month beyond where we want to be."

The Justice Department sued AT&T and T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom on Aug. 31 to stop the deal, arguing the acquisition would hurt competition. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Cellular South have also filed suits to block the acquisition.

During the hearing, Sprint argued that its case and the government's are closely aligned. The judge is considering Sprint's request to coordinate with the government and set Oct. 24 as the day for arguments over the issue. The next hearing for AT&T and the DOJ will happen the following day.

AT&T is reportedly talking to smaller rivals such as MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) to sell spectrum and customers as a way to salvage its deal.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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