The Massive AT&T Lobbying Machine That Couldn't

AT&T outspent Sprint by about $13 million in lobbying to push its purchase of T-Mobile, but it still lost

moneypolitics.jpg

AT&T's bid to buy T-Mobile officially came to an end Monday, when the company announced it could not overcome the government's opposition to the merger.

It's not for lack of trying. AT&T poured almost $16 million into lobbying efforts and about $2 million in campaign contributions to try to sway regulators, Politico reports.

AT&T far outspent Sprint, the merger's largest opponent. Sprint is a much smaller company than AT&T, with a market capitalization of just under $7 billion compared with AT&T's $172 billion. It shelled out $3 million on lobbying, and, Politico reports, "A similar gulf separated the companies' donations to federal and state political office holders."

It's a story that stands in contravention of the way Washington is presumed to work: The bigger guns did not win out. In recent months, both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission moved to stop the deal. It's unusual for a deal this big to fall apart, but apparently the Obama administration was convinced that the anti-competitive effects were both real and significant, and no amount of money (well, not this amount of money, at least) could change its mind.



Image: kentoh/Shutterstock.

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In