AT&T Still Itching for a Telecom Acquisition

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News Posted: Thu, Jan 17 2013 10:17 AM
Stop us if you've heard this one before: AT&T is looking to merge with a telecom...what's that, you have heard this one? Well this time it's different. AT&T isn't looking to make another run at T-Mobile, the U.S. subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, and presumably the wireless carrier learned its lesson about offering massive breakup fees as insurance against regulatory vetoes. Nevertheless, AT&T is still in the market for a merger.

Specifically, AT&T is shopping telecoms in Europe to offset slow growth here in the States, The Wall Street Journal reports. A deal could be made by the end of the year, indicating that AT&T is in somewhat of a rush to make this happen.

AT&T Sign

At the same time, there's a bit of internal debate as to whether competing in a foreign market truly makes sense. It's a risky move because the wireless space is much more competitive in Europe than in the United States, though that's also the reason why it might be worth the risk.

The last time AT&T tried to merge with another carrier, the deal blew up in its face. AT&T made a bid to acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 billion, but it was nixed by antitrust authorities, leaving AT&T on the hook to pay a $3 billion cash breakup fee that was promised if the deal fell through. The two carriers ended up striking a deal to share wireless spectrum instead.
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