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AT&T offers to return 5,000 jobs to win deal approval

August 31, 2011|Bloomberg News

AT&T Inc., seeking government approval for its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc., pledged to bring 5,000 call-center jobs back to the U.S. from other countries once the deal closes.

The company, which would become the nation's biggest mobile-phone carrier after the acquisition, said today in a statement that it wouldn't cut any U.S. wireless call-center jobs as a result of the purchase. The jobs plan doesn't change Dallas-based AT&T's forecasts for savings from the deal, it said.

AT&T is working to bolster its case as analysts become less certain that the acquisition will be approved. A Stifel Nicolaus & Co. survey of 32 polled observers published Aug. 11 found that sentiment that the deal would win clearance had slipped since early July, with fewer than half saying it would be approved.

"At a time when many Americans are struggling and our economy faces significant challenges, we're pleased that the T- Mobile merger allows us to bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States and significantly increase our investment here," AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said in the statement.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission gave itself more time last month to review new data from AT&T, and lawmakers such as Senator Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust matters, have criticized the acquisition.

$7 Billion at Stake

Should regulators reject the transaction, AT&T would pay T- Mobile USA's parent, Deutsche Telekom AG, $3 billion in cash. It would also provide T-Mobile USA with wireless spectrum in some regions and reduced charges for calls into AT&T's network, for a total package valued at as much as $7 billion, Deutsche Telekom said this month.

The purchase would combine the second- and fourth-largest mobile-phone carriers in the country, surpassing No. 1 Verizon Wireless.

AT&T and Bellevue, Washington-based T-Mobile USA have a combined 25,000 U.S. call-center workers for their wireless services, said Ashley Zandy, a spokeswoman for AT&T. She declined to say how many workers AT&T employs outside the U.S.

Deutsche Telekom rose 18 cents, or 1.9 percent, to 9.71 euros at 3:44 p.m. in Frankfurt. AT&T climbed 24 cents to $29.86 at 9:44 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Both stocks are little changed this year.

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