AT&T Settles Suit Over Acquisition

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AT&T will pay more than US$2 million to settle a civil dispute related to its 2007 acquisition of wireless provider Dobson Communications.

In a statement released this week, the U.S. Department of Justice said AT&T had failed to comply with two court orders mandating that the carrier divest from its wireless telecom assets and businesses in two areas of Kentucky and one area of Oklahoma. According to the DOJ, those court orders required that AT&T "take all steps necessary to ensure that the divested businesses were operated independently of AT&T" and that AT&T not exert any influence over their management. AT&T was forced to divest from these assets as a condition for being allowed to acquire Dobson.

The DOJ alleges that AT&T did not relinquish the confidential customer account information held by its divested businesses and that some of AT&T's employees used the customer information to lure those customers away from the divested business and toward AT&T.

To settle the suit, AT&T will pay more than $2 million, which the DOJ says will cover the cost of its investigation.

AT&T acquired Dobson in June 2007 for a total of $2.8 billion, gaining approximately 1.7 million new customers over a span of 17 states. The two companies had been linked since 1990 when Dobson started offering AT&T its roaming services.

This story, "AT&T Settles Suit Over Acquisition" was originally published by Network World.

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