AT&T says merger on track for March 2012 approval


Author: Cecilia Kang
Coverage Type: reporting
Location:
Washington, DC, United States

AT&T says it’s still on track to get its merger with T-Mobile approved by March 2012, even as state utilities, business partners and consumer interest groups express concern about the deal.

In a meeting with reporters in Washington, AT&T General Counsel Wayne Watts said the company has provided a second round of information requested by the Justice Department. He said meetings with the Federal Communications Commission are also going as scheduled. “The number one question I get from investors is can we get (the deal) done,” Watt said. “I think we can.” He rejected arguments that merger approval should include a stipulation that AT&T stop exclusive contracts with handset makers. It’s two-year exclusive contract with Apple was the main reason behind its smartphone success, the company has said.

Watts launched into an unbidden defense of his company, which has come under fire over the support it has gotten for the merger from groups to which it has donated thousands of dollars. "We contribute to organizations because we are a socially responsible company," Watts said. A spokeswoman said many of the organizations involved have received money from AT&T for more than a decade. And Watts named other groups and corporations, including several big technology companies, that he says haven't gotten money from AT&T.

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