In a surprising turn of events, the mega merger that consumer watchdogs decried, but most deemed a fait accompli, faces a real risk of disintegrating at the hands of federal regulators. Last night, a new poll of policy analysts examining the proposed $39 billion merger between AT&T and T-Mobile found that the deal was now more likely to fail than pass FCC and Justice Department approval, according to an average taken from the respondents. The poll comes as AT&T faces a string of setbacks and bad press. It was as recent as March when Bruce Gottlieb, general counsel of The Atlantic and former chief counsel of the FCC, said it was a "safer bet that the government will approve a proposed transaction than block it." Here's how the deal's fallen on hard times:
The accidental leak On Thursday, AT&T accidentally leaked confidential information undermining one of the strongest arguments supporters of AT&T have made in support of the merger. The disclosure revealed that AT&T pondered a $3.8 billion deal to expand its new super fast LTE network to rural areas of the country before its announced acquisition of T-Mobile, reported Maisie Ramsay at Wireless Week. As she notes, "Politicians, consumer groups and top corporations in the tech industry who support the deal have all cited the company’s plan for extra LTE coverage as one of the main reasons the FCC and Justice Department should allow the massive merger to go through."