Crowell & Moring Client AT&T Receives Court Approval For AT&T-SBC Merger Government Settlement
Case Is First to Apply Amended Tunney Act
Washington , D.C. – April 2, 2007: Crowell & Moring LLP client AT&T was granted final approval of its antitrust settlement for the SBC/AT&T merger by a federal judge on Thursday. The case was the first to apply the Tunney Act in a contested proceeding since Congress amended the Act in 2004 to strengthen the court's role in reviewing Justice Department consent decrees. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the 2005 SBC/AT&T settlement was in the public interest.
Judge Sullivan agreed with the parties that the scope of judicial review of antitrust settlements is "limited" under the law. He also made specific findings rejecting the numerous challenges to that decree from competitors and state regulators.
Wilma A. Lewis, a partner at Crowell & Moring who represented AT&T before the court, said, "We are very pleased with this outcome for our client. This ruling sets a sound precedent going forward that protects the constitutional principle of separation of powers.” Lewis was the first woman appointed by the President to serve as a United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Wm. Randolph Smith, Chair of Crowell & Moring’s Antitrust Group and AT&T lead counsel for the Justice Department review, said "The court conducted a very thorough proceeding and developed a comprehensive record from numerous parties. The key holding is that a reviewing court must limit its review and is not empowered with broad authority to second-guess the Justice Department’s prosecutorial discretion or remedies.”
The Crowell & Moring litigation team, led by Lewis and Smith, included partners David Schnorrenberg and associate Valerie Hinko. Crowell & Moring's Antitrust Group represents a range of clients from established Fortune 50 corporations to start-up companies in technology industries. The Group's practice includes the full complement of antitrust and trade regulation matters: civil litigation and investigations; mergers and acquisitions; grand jury investigations and trials; and counseling on ways to manage antitrust risks in all manner of business activities. Other recent matters include lead antitrust counsel for United Technologies Corporation's Pratt & Whitney Division in the acquisition of Boeing's rocket engine unit, as well as providing antitrust advice to the nation's largest patent pool administrator and resolving an international cartel investigation for an industrial concern. In 2006, the firm again was lead counsel for AT&T in its $61 billion acquisition of BellSouth. Other firm antitrust clients include Alcoa, DuPont and Reed Elsevier.
Crowell & Moring LLP is a full-service law firm with nearly 350 lawyers practicing in litigation, antitrust, government contracts, corporate, intellectual property and more than 40 other practice areas. More than two-thirds of the firm's lawyers regularly litigate disputes on behalf of domestic and international corporations, start-up businesses, and individuals. Crowell & Moring's extensive client work ranges from advising on one of the world's largest telecommunications mergers to representing governments and corporations on international arbitration matters. Based in Washington, D.C., the firm also has offices in California, New York, London, and Brussels.
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