Mergers & Antitrust Law News

Former Facebook Executive to Oversee Sprint, T-Mobile Merger

Jan. 13, 2020, 4:33 PM

Facebook Inc.'s former general counsel Theodore Ullyot will oversee T-Mobile U.S. Inc.'s acquisition of Sprint Corp. if the $26 billion telecom deal closes.

A federal judge approved the Justice Department’s appointment of Ullyot as the merger’s monitoring trustee, according to a Jan. 10 court filing.

The telecom merger’s fate is still uncertain as the deal faces a federal antitrust lawsuit by a group of state attorneys general, led by New York’s Attorney General Letitia James and California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who seek to block the deal.

As a monitoring trustee, Ullyot will be required to ensure that T-Mobile and Sprint comply with a DOJ antitrust settlement that approved the wireless deal in July.

Under the government’s settlement, Sprint and T-Mobile are required to sell spectrum assets to Dish Network Corp. in order to establish a new wireless carrier.

Sprint is also expected to offload its prepaid wireless carrier plan to Dish and T-Mobile is required to provide Dish access to its mobile network for several years while Dish builds out its own network.

Ullyot has held multiple corporate counsel positions, most recently serving as counsel for Facebook from 2008 to 2013. He also served as American Online’s general counsel, where he helped oversee AOL’s merger with Time Warner. Ullyot was also a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP specializing in telecommunications and appellate law.

State attorneys general say T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint will drive up prices for consumers because the deal eliminates competition between the two carriers.

The DOJ’s settlement that sets up Dish as a new wireless competitor doesn’t resolve the states’ antitrust concerns.

Closing arguments in the state attorney generals case are scheduled for Jan. 15.

The case is United States v. Deutsche Telekom AG, D.D.C., No. 1:19-cv-02232, Minute Order 1/10/20

To contact the reporter on this story: Victoria Graham in Washington at vgraham@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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