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Congress

Could AT&T Merger Be Inevitable?

March 29, 2011

Investment research firm Stifel Nicolaus said in a research note Tuesday that "an air of inevitability" appears to have settled in Washington and on Wall Street over the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA.

"The deal couldn't be won in a week, but it could have been lost, and it wasn't," Stifel Nicolaus said in the note.

"Public-interest and consumer groups criticized the deal, and Sprint said it should be blocked, but initial congressional responses were generally muted, with calls for 'close scrutiny,' which has become something of code for a protracted government review concluding in approval with a set of conditions that the merging companies carry triumphantly to investors," the firm said.

However, Stifel Nicolaus cautioned that this inevitability does not extend to antitrust officials' review of the deal. "There is a material risk that the government will block the deal or seek conditions so substantial that AT&T walks away," it said.

The New York Attorney General has promised to review the proposed merger -- read more here on our Tech page.

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