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经济学人:美国手机业者合併 功亏一篑

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Business America's mobile merger Tripped at the altar

商业 美国手机业者合併 功亏一篑
The Justice Department seeks to block AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile
司法部门阻止AT&T收购T-mobile
RANDALL STEPHENSON has no time for doubts. In March, when the boss of AT&T, America's second-biggest mobile-phone operator, declared that his firm would buy T-Mobile USA, the number four, for a whopping $39 billion, he seemed convinced that the deal would pass antitrust muster. "This is an intensely competitive marketplace," he said. "When you watch a show or a football game, what dominates the airwaves? It's advertising for the mobile marketplace."
兰德尔·斯蒂芬森已没时间犹豫了。三月份,美国第二大手机运营商AT&T总裁宣布收购美国T-Mobile。T-Mobile 以39亿美元总资产位于美国手机公司第四位。斯蒂芬森似乎对于这次的收购通过反垄断法的检阅非常有信心。他说:"这个市场竞争相当激烈。当人们观看一场演出或是球赛时,是谁控制着无线电波?这是在为手机市场做广告。"
Mr Stephenson's optimism was misplaced. On August 31st America's Justice Department filed a suit to block the proposed merger, arguing that it would "substantially" reduce competition for mobile services in America. This does not mean that the deal is dead—yet. But to salvage it, AT&T must fight a long battle in court at a time when the Obama administration is signalling a tougher approach to antitrust enforcement. Or it must accept painful conditions in a settlement.
但是,斯蒂芬森太过乐观。8月31日,美国的司法部门发起诉讼,反对其提出的并购预案,并称此举会"严重"阻碍美国移动业务的竞争。但是这不表示并购彻底无望。要想挽回计划,AT&T必须上诉,而此时正值奥巴马政府对反垄断法的实行表现出强硬态度之时,这场上诉必是一次漫长的过程。但如果不上诉,就必须接受反垄断协议里苛刻的条款。
Critics say the merger would create a predatory duopoly: AT&T and its main rival, Verizon, would have a combined share of about 80% of America's wireless market (see chart). Nonsense, retorts AT&T. The merger would be good for consumers: it would give them a choice between two strong national companies; it would let the firm expand its fourth-generation (4G) networks, not least in rural areas; and it would alleviate the shortage of radio spectrum.
评论家说,收购成功会形成AT&T和它的主要竞争对手Verizon两强争霸的局面,使他们在美国无线网络市场的份额达到80%。AT&T反驳称其胡说,并表示,收购行为有利于消费者:拥有两大实力公司供其选择;促进企业扩大城乡4G网络覆盖范围;还可弥补无线电覆盖不到的区域。
After five months of digging, America's antitrust regulators disagree. They reckon the merger would result in "higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for mobile wireless services". Unless it is blocked, says James Cole, a deputy attorney-general, consumers will suffer.
美国反垄断机构通过五个月的深入研究,决定否定AT&T的收购申请。他们认为并购会"提高价格,减少选择,降低移动无线业务产品的质量"。司法部副部长詹姆斯·寇乐表示,到时消费者将会遭殃。
Regulators are particularly worried that the takeover would eliminate a disruptive competitor. T-Mobile has a history of cutting prices aggressively. It was also the first carrier to offer wireless e-mail, the latest high-speed networks and a smartphone using the Android operating system.
反垄断机构尤其担心收购通过会减少一个遏制竞争的对手。T-Mobile曾大幅度削价销售。并且它最先向消费者提供无线邮件收发、最新高速网络和配备安卓操作系统的智能手机。
The Justice Department doubts that the deal would yield efficiencies to outweigh its negative impact. And it argues that AT&T could improve its services simply by investing in its own network, rather than by removing a competitor. An accidentally leaked AT&T document suggested that this would be cheaper: the firm did not need T-Mobile's spectrum and needed to invest only $3.8 billion to catch up with Verizon's 4G coverage.
司法部认为这次并购产生的效益不会超过其负面影响。司法部表示,AT&T要发展业务只需继续在自己的互联网上投资就可,何必费力除去一个竞争对手。据一份意外泄漏的AT&T的文件透露他们这样做是为了省钱:其实AT&T并不需要T-Mobile的无线频谱,但是仅38亿美元的投资就可使他们赶超Verizon的4G网络覆盖率。
The early signs are that AT&T is ready to fight. An hour before the suit was announced, the firm said that it would bring 5,000 call-centre jobs back to America from offshore after the deal is approved. Later, it vowed to see the government in court. In July it hired investment bankers, signalling that it is willing to divest assets to gain regulatory approval.
AT&T在早些时候做出的战斗准备就显示了它的这一目的。在司法部提出诉讼的前一个小时,AT&T就表示,并购通过会为美国带来5000个电话接听中心的工作,挽救危机中的美国。诉讼发出后不久,它便宣称将和政府对簿公堂。七月份,AT&T雇佣了一些投资银行家,这表明它想抽离资本来取得反垄断管理机构的批准。
Whether all this will be enough to save the deal is unclear. Shortly before the suit was announced, a poll of telecoms experts by Stifel Nicolaus, a research firm, found that less than half expected the marriage to be approved. Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which must also give its blessing, clearly has doubts.
不管AT&T做这些是不是为了通过收购。在诉讼发起之前,美国蒂夫尼可拉斯公司在电信专家中做了一次投票,只有不到一半的人认为收购预案能通过。而且本应支持此次收购的联邦通信委员会主席朱利斯?格纳科夫斯基也认为预案可能被否定。
If the Justice Department were to succeed in blocking the takeover, that would be quite a blow for Mr Stephenson and AT&T. But there would also be some happy faces. The prospects of Sprint Nextel, America's third-biggest wireless carrier, would suddenly be rosier: its shares rose by 7% on the news. And T-Mobile USA, which is owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom, may get another lease of life. If the deal is blocked, it will get a break-up fee of $3 billion, a chunk of spectrum and a favourable roaming agreement. Being jilted at the altar can be lucrative.
如果司法部成功阻挠了这次收购,对斯蒂芬森和AT&T来说都是一次不小的打击,但对某些公司却是好消息。美国第三大无线运营商Sprint Nextel的股票随着消息的公布上升了7%,前景更加光明。德国电信子公司T-Mobile USA也将获得新生,事后将得到30亿的"分手费"和大范围的频谱资源,还将得到一份优惠的漫游协议。即便被抛弃,T-Mobile仍有利可图。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
disruptive [dis'rʌptiv]

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adj. 破坏的;分裂性的;制造混乱的

 
prospects

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n. 预期;前景;潜在顾客;远景展望

 
unclear

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adj. 不清楚的;不易了解的

 
yield [ji:ld]

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n. 生产量,投资收益
v. 生产,屈服,投降

 
network ['netwə:k]

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n. 网络,网状物,网状系统
vt. (

 
poll [pəul]

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n. 投票,民意测验,民意,票数
v. 做民意

 
approach [ə'prəutʃ]

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n. 接近; 途径,方法
v. 靠近,接近,动

联想记忆
impact ['impækt,im'pækt]

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n. 冲击(力), 冲突,影响(力)
vt.

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spectrum ['spektrəm]

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n. 光谱,范围,系列

联想记忆
acquisition [.ækwi'ziʃən]

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n. 获得,所获之物

 

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