DOJ Asks FCC to Delay Softbank Sprint Approval
DHS, FBI, DOJ Exploring 'National Security' Issues
The Justice Department has requested that the FCC defer a planned $20 billion merger between Sprint and SoftBank, giving the government more time to review the planned deal. A filing on the FCC website
states that the Department of Justice, FBI, and Homeland Security are collectively reviewing the deal with a particular eye on national security. That review was triggered by the fact Japan's Softbank would own 70% of the nation's third biggest wireless carrier.
From the filing:
DOJ, DHS, and FBI (“the Agencies”) are currently reviewing this matter for any national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues but have not yet completed that effort. We therefore request that the Commission defer action until such time as the Agencies notify the Commission of the completion of their review and, based on the results of such review, request appropriate action by the Commission.
The DOJ delay shouldn't prove fatal to the deal, though there's no shortage of companies lobbying to slow or derail the acquisition. AT&T, ignoring a long history of foreign investment (including AT&T and NTT DoCoMo), has tried to drum up a little xenophobia
concerning Softbank. Dish urged the FCC to pause their deal review
earlier this month, but in a letter sent to the FCC yesterday stated they won't officially oppose the deal
: "This is a routine request when working with the CFIUS agencies regarding national security," Sprint said in a statement e-mailed to Broadband Reports. "We continue to anticipate that the transaction will be completed in mid-2013."