A federal judge has approved T-Mobile's $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint.
Long opposed by consumer advocates, the mega-merger will combine America's 3rd and 4th-largest wireless carriers.
In the decision filed Tuesday, Judge Victor Marrero wrote, “The resulting stalemate leaves the Court lacking sufficiently impartial and objective ground on which to rely in basing a sound forecast of the likely competitive effects of a merger.”
The ruling clears one of the final hurdles for the deal, which still can’t close until the California Public Utilities Commission approves the transaction.
Attorneys general from New York, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and D.C. originally brought the lawsuit to block the deal following approval from the Justice Department of Federal Communications Commission. The states had argued that combining the No. 3 and No. 4 U.S. carriers would limit competition and result in higher prices for consumers. The companies had argued their merger would help them compete against top players AT&T and Verizon and advance efforts to build a nationwide 5G network.
T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to certain concessions to the government before the agencies cleared the deal. The companies told the FCC they would deploy a 5G network covering 97% of the U.S. population within three years of closing the deal. Sprint also agreed to sell Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and other prepaid phone businesses, as well as some of its wireless spectrum to Dish Network for $5 billion before gaining approval from the Justice Department.
Judge approves $26 billion merger of T-Mobile and Sprint
[CNBC, reporting by Lauren Feiner, Tue, Feb 11 2020, 8:17 AM EST]
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