WASHINGTON – AT&T is countering the U.S. government’s attempt to block its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile by depicting the deal as a way to provide consumers with better cellphone service at lower prices.
The argument, submitted in a Friday court filing, is AT&T Inc.’s first legal response to a lawsuit that the Department of Justice filed last week in an effort to ensure T-Mobile remains independent. AT&T’s 27-page document echoed the company’s previous contention that buying rival T-Mobile will enable it to expand its mobile communications network so there are fewer dropped connections in a world where constant online access is becoming the norm.
The Justice Department believes there wouldn’t be enough competition if AT&T devours T-Mobile.
The first hearing in the case is set for Sept. 21 in Washington.
New tasting room opens
Walla Walla winemakers Debbie and David Hansen opened their Cougar Crest Estate Winery tasting room Friday in downtown Spokane.
Spokane is the Hansens’ second satellite tasting room; their first satellite tasting room opened in June in Woodinville, Wash.
Cougar Crest has been growing grapes on 50 acres in Walla Walla for the past seven years. The Spokane tasting room moved into 1,400 square feet at 8 N. Post St., in the Peyton Building. The Hansens remodeled the space last used as a downtown store for Simply Northwest.
It will be open seven days a week, said Debbie Hansen.
“We decided to open tasting rooms based on our wine club memberships and where our orders are coming from. So that meant on the West Side and in Spokane,” she added.
Samuel Crosby will be Spokane’s room manager.
Honda issues Pilot recall
LOS ANGELES – Honda Motor Co. says it is recalling 310,773 Pilot vehicles in the U.S. to inspect and potentially replace the front seat belts due to problems with the belts’ stitching.
Honda said Friday it is voluntarily recalling Pilots from the 2009 through 2011 model years.
The automaker says that the driver and front-passenger seat belts may have been manufactured improperly.
The stitching connecting the lap section of the belts to the outboard anchor webbing may be incomplete or missing. That means the belts may potentially come loose in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
Honda says there have been no injuries because of the defects.
Honda wants owners of the recall-affected Pilots to take them to an authorized dealer for inspection when they receive a recall notice.
Wholesale numbers flat
WASHINGTON – Wholesale businesses added to their stockpiles for a 19th consecutive month in July. Inventories rose 0.8 percent.
Sales at the wholesale level were unchanged in July, the poorest showing since a 0.3 percent drop in May.
Weakening sales could shake confidence and cause businesses to cut back on restocking. Economists expect a rebound in sales, although they say growth will stay below the levels needed to generate healthy hiring.