In this issue:
The DOJ’s case against the AT&T/T-Mobile merger has the potential to be a landmark antitrust case. As such, the case will raise and—potentially—answer key questions about acceptable mergers. Our authors not only present viewpoints on both sides of the case but also ask some of the fascinating, less-analyzed questions the case raises. How will the conduct and results of the case reflect on the DOJ’s reputation? Should congressmen be writing letters to President Obama asking him to intervene? What roles are the lobbyists playing? Is the importance of this case overstated? Will the Court use old—or new—merger analysis methodology? How should the lessons from the Microsoft case be applied? The answers could influence antitrust practice for years to come.
The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger
If merger enforcement can ever be equated with high drama, this is such a time. Benjamin D. Brown (Cohen Milstein)
The outcome will provide a test of the power of efficiency arguments in merger cases. Howard Chang, David S. Evans, & Richard Schmalensee (Global Economics Group)
Both the AT&T and Microsoft cases demonstrate the danger of leaving to litigation the solution to market problems involving technology markets. Larry Downes (Tech Freedom)
The DOJ’s complaint against AT&T evinces an analysis based upon structural inferences rather than rigorous economic analysis of a dynamic, high-tech market. Geoffrey Manne (Int’l Center for Law & Economics) & Joshua Wright (George Mason Univ.).
The letters are reminiscent of a politicization of antitrust not seen since the Nixon administration. Anant Raut (Pepper Hamilton)
If the case remains within the confines of the simple scenario, the wireless industry and merger law may be well-served, but a significant impact on antitrust law and policy will have to wait for another day. Jonathan Rubin (Rubin PLLC.)
So why are so many elected officials asking the U.S. Department of Justice to approve a merger that would likely lead to higher prices, fewer jobs, less innovation, and higher excise taxes for their constituents? Maurice Stucke (Univ. of Tennessee Law School)