Deutsche Telekom Confident AT&T Deal Will Get OK
Deutsche Telekom's CEO Rene Obermann is confident that the sale of its US unit T-Mobile USA to AT&T will get regulatory approval, he told CNBC Thursday.
The $39 billion sale, announced in March, would create the biggest wireless operator in the US and some lawmakers have expressed fears that it would stifle competition and would lead to job losses.
"We believe that this transaction will get approval, we're very optimistic that this will get approval," Obermann said in an interview with CNBC.
The deal has support from 26 governors and from 11 state attorneys and it makes "all sense in the world" in terms of the positive effects, he said, adding that the US market is a "highly competitive" one.
The transaction, under which Deutsche Telekom will get about 8 percent in AT&T, and a representative of the German company will join the AT&T board, is likely to be finalized next year, according to Obermann.
"We expect the approval in the first half of 2012 so it will take quite some time," he said.
Multi-billion acquisitions are not on Deutsche Telekom's agenda currently, as the company will focus on investing organically, Obermann added.
In his company's main markets in Europe, the picture is mixed, with relative strength in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic while in some markets like Greece and Romania things were "still very tough," he said.
"I think Europe over time will improve, it just takes time and we have to have some patience," Obermann also said.
Earlier on Thursday, the company said it was on track to meet its targets for this year despite economic weakness in the south-east of Europe, slow growth in Germany and poor operational performance in the US.
Deutsche Telekom's net profit fell 26.7 percent in the second quarter to 348 million euros ($494.16 million) because of a one-off expense of 600 million euros for an extended early retirement plan in Germany.