AT&T: U.S. Sues to Block T-Mobile Deal
The U.S. Justice Dept. wants to put the kibosh on AT&T’s proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile, filing a complaint in federal court on Aug. 31 saying the deal would reduce competition and violate antitrust law. The controversial merger, first announced in March, would make Dallas-based AT&T the largest mobile carrier in the U.S., displacing current market-leader Verizon and leaving Sprint a distant third. If the deal falls apart, AT&T would have to pay T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, a break-up fee of as much as $3 billion in cash, plus some wireless infrastructure. AT&T said it will “vigorously contest” the litigation and will ask for an expedited hearing.
Yelp/Facebook: Backing Away from Daily Deal Deluge
Online review site Yelp and the social network Facebook are retreating from the once-promising daily deal market. Yelp is cutting back its online discount coupons sales staff while Facebook will stop offering local deals entirely. Both rolled out the services to compete with Groupon, but the rapid proliferation of offerings has driven down margins. More than half of consumers who have signed up for daily deals say they are “overwhelmed” by the flood of e-mails, according to a survey by PriceGrabber, a deal aggregator.
América Móvil: Entree into Brazilian Cable TV
Brazil’s government plans to open the country’s pay-TV industry to foreigners and phone companies, a move that could attract $9.4 billion of investment a year, according to official projections. The new policy will allow Carlos Slim’s company, América Móvil, to exercise its option to take control of the voting shares of Brazil’s largest cable company, Net Serviços de Comunicação. Phone companies have been eager to get into the market, so as to keep pay-TV providers from siphoning off customers for Internet and phone services.
Sony/Toshiba/Hitachi: Splicing Their LCD Businesses
Facing crushing competition from South Korean and Taiwanese producers, three Japanese electronics competitors will spin-off and combine their liquid-crystal display businesses into a new state-backed venture. The deal may create the world’s biggest maker of LCD displays for mobile phones and cameras. Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi will each own a 10 percent stake in the new business, called Japan Display, while the government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan will own the remaining 70 percent.
Solyndra: Solar Panel Maker Files Chapter 11
Succumbing to pressure from Chinese companies that have driven down panel prices, the solar technology manufacturer Solyndra plans on filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closing its factory and laying off approximately 1,100 workers. The Fremont (Calif.)-based company, which makes thin solar panels for industrial and commercial rooftops, is the latest casualty in a global shakeup of solar manufacturers that face increasing price competition and decreasing demand as governments roll back incentive programs.