AT&T Eying Leap for Asset Sale to Help T-Mobile Deal
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Nov 29, 2011, 8:15 AM by Eric M. Zeman
AT&T is holding talks with Leap Wireless that could result in the small, regional player assuming control of a massive block of T-Mobile customers, reports the New York Times. Citing sources familiar with the negotiations between the two companies, the Times says that the deal would transfer a significant portion of T-Mobile's customers and select spectrum assets to Leap Wireless, thereby reducing the final size of a merged AT&T/T-Mobile entity. The Times says the size of the deal would make Leap Wireless the fourth-largest provider in the country, behind AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint. AT&T would still hold onto the majority of T-Mobile's spectrum, however, which it insists it needs to complete its LTE network build-out. Neither company confirmed the talks to the New York Times. AT&T's attempt to acquire T-Mobile has hit significant roadblocks in the form of a Justice Department lawsuit and a petition from the Federal Communications Commission. Should the deal fall through, AT&T will owe Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile USA's parent company, a break-up fee of nearly $6 billion in cash and spectrum assets.
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