Open Markets: “T-Mobile/Sprint Ruling Legitimizes Monopoly”
February 11, 2020
Open Markets Legal Director Sandeep Vaheesan: State AGs must take a stand and put a stop to the T-Mobile/Sprint mega-merger
WASHINGTON — In response to the news that U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York has ruled in favor of T-Mobile’s mega-merger with Sprint, Open Markets Legal Director Sandeep Vaheesan makes the following statement:
Judge Victor Marrero’s ruling allowing T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint further concentrates the national wireless market and empowers all corporations seeking dominance through mergers and acquisitions. The Obama administration wisely said no to consolidation that would reduce the number of national wireless carriers to just three. The Trump administration and now Judge Marrero have rejected this policy and permitted even greater concentration in wireless. Today’s decision underscores the need for bright-line rules that deter harmful consolidation and channel business strategy toward product improvement and investment in new capacity.
The judge’s decision subverts the Clayton Act, the principal federal anti-merger statute. His ruling permits otherwise illegal mergers if the merging corporations can establish productive efficiencies or show that one of the corporations is a “weakened competitor.” The Supreme Court rejected these defenses because they are contrary to the text and purpose of the Clayton Act. While there is a limited “failing firm defense, Sprint didn’t satisfy its requirements, nor did Judge Marrero purport to apply it. We call on the state attorneys general to take a stand and appeal this decision to the Second Circuit. It is critical they send a strong message to all corporations that consolidation in highly concentrated markets will not be tolerated and that the law will be upheld.
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