AT&T (NYSE:T) has hired a banker to advise it on asset sales of up to $8 billion in advance of regulatory approval of its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said AT&T hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to advise it on the asset sales, which may include customers and spectrum. The report said the $8 billion valuation of the assets was based on internal analyses of the markets that AT&T might have to divest to gain regulatory approval for the deal, which is being reviewed by both the FCC and Department of Justice. Most of the divested assets are expected to come from T-Mobile's holdings, the report said, but AT&T might choose to sell off some of its own assets.
An AT&T spokesman told the FierceWireless: "As we said on the day we announced the merger with T-Mobile USA, we anticipate there will be some divestitures, as we have had in past mergers, but any speculation about the amount of divestitures is premature."
Executives from other wireless companies, including flat-rate carriers MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), have expressed interest in scooping up any potential divested assets from the AT&T/T-Mobile transaction.
Earlier this week, the FCC said it will consider AT&T's proposed $1.93 billion purchase of Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) 700 MHz MediaFLO spectrum side-by-side with the T-Mobile deal, citing "a number of related issues, including, but not limited to, questions regarding AT&T's aggregation of spectrum throughout the nation, particularly in overlapping areas."
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
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