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The US Week Ahead: Multistate challenge to T-Mobile/Sprint deal begins


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The US Week Ahead: Multistate challenge to T-Mobile/Sprint deal begins

A state-led challenge to the pending T-Mobile US Inc./Sprint Corp. merger is starting in a federal district court in New York this week.

The multistate lawsuit, led by New York and California, alleges that the deal would harm innovation and lead to higher prices for consumers. Fourteen attorneys general, also representing Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, are attempting to stop the merger. With approvals already secured from federal regulators, the trial is believed to be the last major regulatory or legal hurdle for the deal.

According to a scheduling order by the court, the parties have committed to a two-week trial, with defendants having the right to seek a third week. The trial will begin on Dec. 9 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In a Dec. 2 note to investors, New Street Research Policy Adviser Blair Levin said while New Street views the odds of the trial to be close, the "states are more likely than not to win."

Levin added that this is due to "weaknesses we see in the companies market definition, reliance on economic arguments with little support in antitrust precedent, a zig-zag approach to the DOJ and FCC's judgments, a reliance on behavioral remedies to justify the fix and a reliance on public interest considerations, such as social or industrial policy, that generally are considered irrelevant to competition analysis."

But Levin noted that New Street "could see the Judge accepting a number of arguments from the companies and ultimately ruling their way, including by fashioning his own remedies."

Speaking on T-Mobile's third-quarter earnings call in October, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said he expects the deal will close in early 2020 after the lawsuit is resolved.

In November, the company announced that T-Mobile President and COO Mike Sievert will succeed Legere as CEO in May 2020. Legere said in a statement announcing the move that in the months ahead, his goal is to focus on "ensuring a smooth leadership transition and continuing to work closely with the Board and Mike to complete the Sprint transaction."


Dec. 9 A state-led challenge to the T-Mobile/Sprint merger begins in federal district court in New York.
Dec. 10 The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing titled "Encryption and Lawful Access: Evaluating Benefits and Risks to Public Safety and Privacy"
Dec. 12 The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will host its monthly open meeting.
Industry, legal and think tank events
Dec. 10 The Federal Communications Bar Association will host its annual dinner honoring the chair of the FCC in Washington, D.C.
Dec. 11-12 AI Business, a media, events and research organization will host an event titled "The AI Summit" in New York.
Dec. 11 George Mason University will host an event titled "FTC vs. Facebook: A Discussion with FTC Commissioner Wilson" in Arlington, Va.
Dec. 12 The Brookings Institution will host an event titled "Lessons of history, law, and public opinion for AI development" in Washington, D.C.
Dec. 13 The Brookings Institution will host an event titled "What do the GDPR and CCPA mean for privacy in America?" in Washington, D.C.

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