According to a report by the Financial Times, a large number of “analysts” now rate the chances for an AT&T, T-Mobile deal at less than 50%. Some analysts are even going so far as to rate the deal as only having a 20% chance of success for government approval. Bankers are noting that in order for the deal to win approval, AT&T will have to sell significant spectrum, possibly to MetroPCS as rumored in the past using AWS frequency.
AT&T and Deutsche Telekom continue to ignore analyst talk that the deal won’t be approved: “Over the past two years, T-Mobile USA has been losing customers despite explosive demand for mobile broadband,” AT&T said in a statement, according to the Financial Times. “T-Mobile USA has no clear path to 4G LTE, the industry’s next generation network, and its German parent, Deutsche Telekom, has said it would not continue to make significant investments in the United States.”
With that said, Deutsche Telekom is unable to pursue any possible “Plan B” options according to their contract agreement prohibiting DT from seeking any other opportunities for sale. “This enforced silence and legal limbo is a very long way from a comfortable position for Deutsche Telekom, as it remains the reluctant owner of an asset that is deteriorating rapidly in an increasingly difficult US [market],” Sanford C. Bernstein analysts Robin Bienenstock and Craig Moffett wrote in a recent research note.
Earlier this month on November 4th AT&T announced it was pushing back its timeframe to close the T-Mobile deal. Originally the expected timeframe was sometime in March and now looks to be closer to a mid-Summer close if AT&T has their way.
Next up for both companies is the February 13th trial between the Department of Justice and AT&T as the DOJ looks to block the takeover.
The real question remains for T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom specifically, without a perspective buyer in AT&T, what next?