AT&T and Verizon will argue in federal court today to convince the judge to approve a consent decree as part of the AT&T/SBC and Verizon/MCI mergers. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan surprised many last week by raising concerns that the consent decrees negotiated by the U.S. Department of Justice with both telecom companies may not go far enough to ensure the deals are not anticompetitive. The DoJ approved both consent decrees under the condition that some fiber optic facilities would be divested. Sullivan has asked AT&T, Verizon and the DoJ to voice whether he has authority to challenge these settlements. It's not clear whether a federal judge can retroactively change conditions of the two mergers, which already closed, but Sullivan could have an impact on how the DoJ scrutinizes the pending merger between AT&T and BellSouth.
To read more about whether mergers will face new scrutiny:
- check out this article from Telephony Magazine