AT&T is backing out of its plan to buy wireless company T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, citing government pushback. The deal could have affected T-Mobile's call center in Oakland, which employs nearly 800, the company said.
Both AT&T and T-Mobile have filed requests with the Federal Communications Commission to withdraw applications seeking the acquisition, at least temporarily, McClatchy Newspapers reported. The Justice Department in August filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the deal, saying it would hurt competition in the wireless market. Last week, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recommended referring the deal to an administrative law judge for a hearing, which would have posed a lengthy delay and potentially revealed confidential details about the two companies. In a statement, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, parent of T-Mobile, said they still plan to pursue the sale, but would focus on seeking an antitrust clearance from the Justice Department before applying for FCC approval. The FCC, however, could dismiss the application with prejudice, which would prevent AT&T from reapplying, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Members of Maine's congressional delegation rallied after AT&T in March announced the deal, pushing the company to promise to keep the T-Mobile call center in Oakland open after the acquisition. In April, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the company had "no immediate plans" to shutter the center.