Expert: M&A Activity Ushers In Risk Management Concerns

AT&T shocked the world this week when it announced its future plans to acquire rival carrier T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction currently valued at approximately $39 billion

According to AT&T, the acquisition will provide a combination of network assets that will attempt to improve overall network quality. For example, by expanding and enhancing its 4G standards, AT&T intends to upgrade its speed and connectivity to better serve its clients. 

‘This transaction delivers significant customer, shareholder and public benefits that are available at this level only from the combination of these two companies with complementary network technologies, spectrum positions and operations,’ says Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer.

The deal, which is still subject to federal approval, has many industry observers concerned about the risks the acquisition will pose to AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s corporate clients’ data. 

‘The big thing with this merger is impact,’ says Brian Fino, managing director of an international IT consulting firm, Fino Consulting. ‘Mobile device management is a critical component of any enterprise’s mobile strategy to protect their devices and the data that resides on them.’

Fino suggests that corporations start anticipating the security issues ahead of the acquisition and implementing mobile strategies that can take them through any problems that may surface. 

‘Corporations should decide whether data can be accessed through an employee’s personal phone or a company phone.  This will have a significant impact on what devices are allowed to access to corporate data as well as what security is necessary,’ he says.

As part of the transaction, Deutsche Telekom will receive an equity stake in AT&T that, based on the terms of the agreement, would give Deutsche Telekom an ownership interest in AT&T of approximately 8 per cent, says AT&T. 

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