According to an article at Bloomberg.com (link to full story below) States investigating the T-Mobile / Sprint merger are considering a lawsuit to block the deal on antitrust grounds and may act even if the Justice Department approves it.
State attorneys general haven’t made a final decision about the merger, but are keeping options open as they investigate whether the deal harms competition and would lead to higher prices for customers.
The investigation could represent a major hurdle to the merger. State enforcers have the power to go to court to block the tie-up even if federal officials at the Justice Department’s antitrust division and the FCC approve it.
New York and California are helping to lead a group of more than a dozen states that are reviewing the merger’s effect on competition. While the “new T-Mobile” would control about 30% of the national wireless market, the company would have a significantly higher market share in some states. That has heightened concern among state officials about the deal, the people said.
‘Dangerous for Consumers’
At a meeting of state attorneys general earlier this month, Maryland AG Brian Frosh called T-Mobile’s proposed Sprint merger “dangerous for consumers.”
The states have hired economists to aide them in their review, including University of California at Berkeley professor Carl Shapiro. Shapiro also testified in the Justice Department’s case seeking to block the AT&T-Time Warner deal.
T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that together they can more quickly to build a fast, advanced next-generation system known as 5G.
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