February 17, 2020 / 3:09 AM / 4 months ago

New York drops fight against T-Mobile-Sprint merger

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York on Sunday dropped its fight against the $40 billion merger of U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp, saying the state would not appeal a judge’s approval of the deal.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office would end the court challenge to the 2018 merger agreement between the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers.

Instead, she said her office hopes “to work with all the parties to ensure that consumers get the best pricing and service possible, that networks are built out throughout our state, and that good-paying jobs are created here in New York.”

A U.S. federal judge gave the companies the green light on Tuesday to complete the deal. New York, California and other states had challenged it on antitrust grounds, saying it would drive up prices for consumers.

The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said it was reviewing the court ruling and its options.

“We are mindful that the California Public Utility Commission also has this matter under consideration,” it said on Sunday.

Attorneys general offices for Connecticut and Massachusetts said they are reviewing the decision and evaluating their options. Michigan said it was not in a position to comment.

The eight other states in the group and the District of Columbia did not reply to requests for comment.

In her statement, New York’s James said the “process has yielded commitments from T-Mobile to create jobs in Rochester and engage in robust national diversity initiatives that will connect our communities with good jobs and technology.”

Other states have also stopped pursing their fight by focusing on jobs they were promised. In October, Colorado became the second state, after Mississippi, to drop its legal challenge after striking an agreement with T-Mobile and Dish Network Corp, which will buy the assets divested from the merger.

FILE PHOTO: Smartphones with the logos of T-Mobile and Sprint are seen in this illustration taken September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Dish pledged to bring 2,000 jobs to Colorado, and T-Mobile agreed to deploy the next generation of wireless 5G across much of the state.

No further details were immediately available on any such specific agreement with New York.

The all-stock deal was originally valued at $26 billion. With gains in the value of T-Mobile shares since it was announced, the deal is now worth $40 billion.

Reporting by Hilary Russ in New York and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Dan Grebler and David Gregorio

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