updated 06:50 pm EDT, Wed September 7, 2011
Carriers to meet with DoJ
A federal judge has reportedly scheduled a status conference for the Department of Justice lawsuit against AT&T and T-Mobile. All parties have been asked to be prepared to "discuss the prospects for settlement" at the hearing, which is slated for September 21, while a case management and scheduling plan must be presented by September 16.
Although Judge Ellen Segal has allotted time for settlement negotiations, it remains unclear if the parties will agree on such a deal early in the proceedings. The carriers also face a separate lawsuit, which was filed earlier this week by Sprint.
Recent reports suggest AT&T's final price for the T-Mobile buyout may be variable, protecting AT&T from taking a significant hit if the government requires the carrier to sell of regional assets to quell antitrust concerns. Clauses in the acquisition agreement are also said to leave a door out for AT&T if the government asks for asset divestment worth more than 40 percent of the $39 billion asking price.
The DoJ has yet to publicly outline a list of requirements that AT&T and T-Mobile must meet before the lawsuit is dropped, however acting assistant attorney general Sharis Pozen suggests the government is open to reaching some form of settlement. [via DealBook]