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US judge clears T-Mobile’s $59bn Sprint takeover without conditions

Ruling dismisses Democratic-led states’ argument that deal would have anti-competitive effect

A federal judge has approved T-Mobile’s $59bn acquisition of mobile rival Sprint without conditions, clearing a path for further consolidation in the US telecommunications market.

Judge Victor Marrero, who oversaw a challenge to the deal by a group of Democratic-led states, ruled decisively for the companies in an 173-page decision on Tuesday.

The judge said he was unpersuaded by arguments that T-Mobile would act anti-competitively following the merger, or that Dish, to which the combined group will divest some assets, would fail to be an effective new entrant.

He also pointed to Sprint’s struggles, saying he was unconvinced it would be a sustainable player in the market.

“The overwhelming view within Sprint and in the wider industry is that Sprint is falling farther short of the targets it must hit to remain relevant as a significant competitor,” he wrote.

News of Judge Marrero’s decision had leaked on Monday ahead of the release of the decision after the parties were informed of how he would rule.

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