Law firm along with customers want to prevent the merger
Bursor & Fisher is working with some of AT&T’s clients to prevent the company’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile at $39 million. The law firm (based in New York) is representing a small group of AT&T’s customers working at demanding arbitration from the Company. AT&T is the second largest wireless phone service provider in the USA and the largest contributor to the nation’s politics.
Basis of the arbitration
According to the law firm Bursor & Fisher, the merger is a violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act and will be harmful to the wireless market. Moreover, the primary reason to oppose the merger is the increase in the prices while reducing the services leading to harm to the customers. The demand is to either completely stop the merger or impose certain conditions, such as divesture of some spectrums and prohibiting the Company from getting in to exclusive contracts with the various manufacturers of mobile handsets.
Merger under review
The United States Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission are presently reviewing the merger. However, the review is expected to take at least one year to be evaluated fully. The primary goal of the DOJ is to verify the antitrust claims that may be potentially raised. In contrast, the FCC will ensure that the merger is going to be in the interest of the public because both the companies are under the FCC’s regulation.
Law firm expects several cases
Scott Bursor, who is a partner at the law firm, expects that several hundred cases may possibly be filed against the merger. According to him, the process may possibly be used to file antitrust disputes because the class actions cases are not available for the company’s customers. While providing the contracts, AT&T prevents its clients from filing a suit against the company directly or as a part of the class action cases. In case of any disputes, the customers have to rely on the arbitration process. However, there is a limitation on the arbitration as a group and must file individual claims.
AT&T’s customers are not the only people challenging the merger. Other agencies, such as Sprint Nextel is also opposing the merger. Some states are also following the merger closely and California’s Public Utility Commission is reviewing the merger to check the possibility of anti competitive effects on customers and other business owners.