A PYMNTS Company

The AT&T Case: A Personal View

 |  January 8, 2010

Thomas Kauper, Thomas Kauper, Nov 01, 2009

The AT&T case, asserting that the company had acted in violation of the antitrust laws and seeking its dissolution, was filed under my direction in 1974, and culminated in a consent decree that brought the largest dissolution in American antitrust history. From the outset the case presented a host of institutional, regulatory, procedural, and substantive issues that continue to plague antitrust enforcement agencies, courts, and economic policy makers both here and abroad. It also had the elements of a soap opera, with a degree of suspense, a bit of anger, some embarrassment, a lot of courage, a large cast of characters, intra-agency battling, and leaks to reporters. This brief paper addresses the case in personal terms, with an emphasis on why and how the case was filed, along with an assessment of its consequences, with some history and a few anecdotes thrown in.

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