AT&T may dodge break fee

 
Steve Dinneen
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AT&T may not have to pay Deutsche Telekom a multi-billion dollar break fee, even if its $39bn (£24bn) acquisition of T-Mobile USA falls through, according to people familiar with the matter.

The US government last week went to court in an attempt to derail the bid on competition grounds, threatening to trigger a breakup fee comprising $6bn in cash and other assets, including mobile spectrum and a roaming agreement.

However, the source said the deal is only valid if the acquisition receives regulatory approval within a certain timeframe.

The agreement could also become invalid if regulatory conditions for the sale push the value of T-Mobile USA below a certain level, the person said. Deutsche Telekom declined to comment last night.

The bid is the biggest the M&A market has seen this year.