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Federal Judge Approves T-Mobile - Sprint Merger

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A U.S. District judge ruled in favor of Sprint corp.'s (S) $26 billion merger deal with T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS), dismissing a lawsuit brought by a group of State Attorneys General. The ruling has cleared one of the final hurdles for the deal. But the deal still needs the California Public Utilities Commission approval.

The ruling of Southern District of New York Judge Victor Marrero said the proposed merger is not reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition in the mobile service market, and would likely enhance competition in the relevant markets to the benefit of all consumers.

"Today was a huge victory for this merger... and now we are finally able to focus on the last steps to get this merger done!," said John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile.

Mike Sievert, COO and, President of T-Mobile hoped that the deal could now close as early as April 1, 2020.

German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom, holding company of T-Mobile, said that T-Mobile US and Sprint will pursue their planned merger, following the favorable ruling. However, the plaintiff states have legal remedies against the ruling at their disposal.

In 2018, T-Mobile and Sprint agreed to merge in an all-stock deal worth $26 billion. The deal then valued Sprint at $59 billion, while the combined company would be worth $146 billion.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger with certain conditions in November 2019. The deal also received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

But, state attorneys-general of 13 US Federal States and the District of Columbia had filed an antitrust lawsuit aiming to block the merger. The states had argued that combining the two companies was not in the public's interest as it would reduce competition and lead to higher smartphone bills.

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