Tech wrap: AT&T, T-Mobile pull plug on mega-merger

December 19, 2011

AT&T said it had agreed with Deutsche Telekom to drop its $39 billion bid to buy the German company’s U.S. wireless unit amid increasing regulatory obstacles to the planned deal. AT&T said in a statement on Monday that it will enter a roaming agreement with Deutsche Telekom. AT&T’s plan to buy T-Mobile USA, first announced in March, has met with opposition from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

The upstart wireless company that is being bankrolled by Philip Falcone’s $5 billion Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund could run out of money during the second quarter of 2012, according to the company’s financial statement. LightSquared, which registered a $427 million net loss during the first nine months of this year, may not be able to “continue as a going concern” unless it can raise additional capital and financing, the statement reviewed by Reuters said.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire and an investor in some of the world’s top companies, has bought a stake in microblogging site Twitter for $300 million, gaining another foothold in the global media industry. The Twitter stake, bought jointly by Alwaleed and his Kingdom Holding Co investment firm, was a secondary market transaction, meaning that Alwaleed and Kingdom bought the Twitter shares from existing shareholders, rather than making a direct investment, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The precipitous decline in the price of Research In Motion stock has left the market capitalization of the BlackBerry maker below the value of its cash, receivables and other current assets. Shares in the Canadian smartphone maker fell another 4 percent, to less than $13, on the Nasdaq on Monday. They have lost more than half their value since the day before reporting second quarter earnings back in September. The fall gives RIM a market capitalization of less than $7 billion. RIM last week said it had current assets – which include short-term investments and discounted inventory – of $7.2 billion.

Zynga shares fell as much as 13 percent below their IPO price, in their second trading session, as investors worried about the online game publisher’s growth prospects. “Investors aren’t interested in Zynga – not at these prices,” said Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia. “The demand post-IPO is what drives the stock price and it’s just not there.” With these latest losses, Zynga has a market value of $7.8 billion, down from $8.9 billion when it went public.

Cablevision Systems Corp said Monday that it would dismiss a lawsuit it filed earlier this month against Verizon Communications Inc for allegedly misleading consumers about the speed of Cablevision’s Internet services. In the lawsuit filed December 6 in Brooklyn federal court, Cablevision accused Verizon of running a deceptive advertising campaign based on a study from the Federal Communications Commission showing that the company only delivered up to 59 percent of its advertised Internet speeds during peak hours.

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