AT&T asks judge to stay T-Mobile merger court proceedings until January 18th (update: granted)

Just last week, the US Department of Justice indicated its desire to dismiss the lawsuit it filed to stop the union of AT&T and T-Mobile because of Ma Bell's withdrawal of the merger's FCC application. It looks like that's given the telco plenty more issues to ponder, so now it's asking Judge Huvelle to postpone further antitrust court proceedings until January 18. The folks at AT&T need the extra time to "evaluate all options" and "revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals" for the merger. Because the DoJ has signed off on AT&T's petition, it seems likely the court will go along with the plan -- as opposed to killing the deal via a case dismissal at the hearing currently scheduled later this week. We'll have to wait and see if the Judge Huvelle grants the request, but if she does, this much is certain: Ma Bell's lawyers will be doing more work than merrymaking over the holidays.

Update: It looks like Christmas came early for AT&T&T, as the New York Times reports that Judge Huvelle has granted the stay.

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DALLAS, December, 12, 2011 – AT&T today issued the following statement regarding the status of its merger with T-Mobile USA:

"AT&T and Deutsche Telekom advised Judge Huvelle this morning that they wish to stay any further Court proceedings until January 18, 2012, to allow the two companies time to evaluate all options. The U.S. Department of Justice joined in the filing.

"AT&T is committed to working with Deutsche Telekom to find a solution that is in the best interests of our respective customers, shareholders and employees. We are actively considering whether and how to revise our current transaction to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals so that we can deliver the capacity enhancements and improved customer service that can only be derived from combining our two companies' wireless assets."

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