A federal district court judge ruled on Monday to postpone the impending antitrust trial over the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, granting the unusually-unified requests of both defendant companies and the plaintiff, the U.S. Justice Department, the Associated Press reported.
The trial had originally been scheduled to begin February 13, 2012, but U.S. District of Columbia court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle approved the joint-motion to indefinitely postpone the case, filed by AT&T, T-Mobile and the Justice Department.
Now both sides will meet in court on January 18 for a “status hearing,” to see if the whole thing will be scrapped or go forward in some other fashion.
AT&T wanted the motion granted so it could go back to the drawing board and figure out a deal to combine with T-Mobile that would be approved by federal regulators, without going through a costly trial process. In a twist, the Justice Department also sought to delay the trial, but because it wanted AT&T to re-submit any new plan to combine to the Federal Communications Commission.
AT&T has been forced to radically recalibrate its intentions to buyout T-Mobile for $39 billion after the Federal Communications Commission on November 30 released a scathing report blasting the merger as “anticompetitive” and not in the “public interest,” the same lines of argument towed by the Justice Department when it sued to block the merger in September.