Bloomberg News

Sprint Has Failed to Give Documents in U.S. Case, AT&T Says

October 22, 2011

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc. told a federal judge that Sprint Nextel Corp. should be forced to turn over documents AT&T subpoenaed for its defense against a U.S. lawsuit seeking to block its purchase of T-Mobile USA Inc.

AT&T asked the judge in a filing yesterday to compel Sprint to provide the documents “immediately,” saying that the Overland Park, Kansas-based company has yet to respond to its Sept. 26 subpoena seeking documents relevant to the Justice Department’s claims against AT&T. Sprint is a so-called non- party in the case.

“Sprint has not produced a single document,” AT&T said in the filing. “Instead Sprint contends it is not required to comply with the subpoena,” arguing it already turned documents over to the Justice Department during its review of the $39 billion merger announced March 20, AT&T said.

Sprint hasn’t shown that the documents it already turned over would respond to AT&T’s request, the phone company said. Dallas-based AT&T said in the filing it was also asking for material that wasn’t given to the Justice Department.

AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the filing yesterday. Sprint spokesman John Taylor declined to comment on the AT&T’s demand.

Transaction Documents

AT&T has asked Sprint for documents relating to transactions entered into since January 2004, including deals with Nextel Communications Inc., Virgin Mobile and Clearwire Corp., according to an Oct. 19th filing by Sprint, which has filed its own lawsuit to halt the T-Mobile deal.

Sprint said in that filing that AT&T’s document requests “go far beyond ordinary, non-party merger case discovery, which focuses on the current competitive landscape, not on the details of every transaction entered into by a competitor in the last eight years.”

Sprint has also asked U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle to give it access to data AT&T turned over to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department sued AT&T and Bonn-based Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile unit on Aug. 31, saying a combination of the two companies would “substantially” reduce competition. Seven states and Puerto Rico joined the effort to block the deal, which would make AT&T the biggest U.S. wireless carrier.

Threat to Competition

Sprint filed its antitrust lawsuit on Sept. 6, less than a week after the U.S. sued. Cellular South Inc. sued on Sept. 19, claiming the merger threatened to “substantially” cut competition.

Judge Huvelle, overseeing all the AT&T cases, froze document exchanges in the private lawsuits while she weighs a bid by AT&T to dismiss them. A hearing about AT&T’s motion to dismiss is scheduled for Oct. 24.

The government’s case is U.S. v. AT&T Inc., 11-01560; Sprint’s case is Sprint Nextel Corp. v. AT&T Inc., 11-01600; and Cellular South’s case is Cellular South Inc. v. AT&T Inc., 11-01690, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

--Editors: Fred Strasser, Mary Romano

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Forden in Washington at sforden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fred Strasser at fstrasser@bloomberg.net


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