DOJ’s Attempt to Block the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Places the Horizontal Merger Guidelines on Trial

Benjamin Brown, Oct 31, 2011

In the U.S. antitrust merger enforcement community, many believed that the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) would sue to enjoin any attempt to further consolidate among the Big Four, especially any combination that would involve either of the biggest two networks, Verizon and AT&T, eliminating one of their smaller competitors. It therefore was not unforeseen when DOJ announced, on August 31, 2011, that it would indeed seek an injunction to prevent consummation of the deal. Few gave credence to AT&T’s public statements that they had been somehow blindsided by the Antitrust Division. What many in the competition policy world did not realize at the time the Division announced the suit was that this case will likely result in a trial of the Division’s litigation mettle and the Horizontal Merger Guidelines themselves.

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