US DOJ Asks FCC to Defer Sprint/Softbank Merger While it Investigates
At first glance, this might look like troublesome news for the planned Sprint-Softbank merger. Apparently the US Department of Justice has asked the FCC to defer the case while the DOJ steps in to investigate it. Sprint seems unfazed by this, and even commented this is simply normal procedure. Here's a quote with a bit more info,
We will keep an eye on this, and let you know if something out of the ordinary develops.
In a letter sent to the FCC and dated yesterday, attorney advisor Jennifer Rockoff, with the Justice Department's National Security Division, asked that the deal be put on ice for now.
The DOJ, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI "are currently reviewing this matter for any national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues but have not yet completed that effort," she wrote. "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."
Both companies hope the deal will be cleared by mid-2013. In a statement to CNET, a Sprint representative said, "This a routine request, so the appropriate federal agencies can review network security issues for transactions involving foreign companies. We continue to anticipate that the transaction will be completed in mid-2013."