For T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom AG, $3 billion will be cold comfort if its deal with AT&T Inc. collapses.
The German telecommunications giant has long sought a graceful exit from the U.S. market, where T-Mobile is outmatched by larger competitors, behind the curve in developing a next-generation network and the only national carrier not to offer Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
AT&T’s $39 billion offer provided a promising solution. If it falls through, Deutsche Telekom will reap a windfall of cash and spectrum rights, but it will be back to square one with an asset it has already told the world it doesn’t want to keep.
On Thursday, AT&T booked a $4 billion charge to cover its costs if the deal fails, a first acknowledgement that the odds are now greater it won’t succeed. The companies also pulled their application for approval from the Federal Communications Commission, which moved Tuesday to order a trial-like hearing on the merger.