Afternoon Roundup: Today's Top Stories

At The Motley Fool, we know our readers like to be informed. So we have scouted out today's most relevant news items and brought them to you all on one page. We hope you find this midday edition informative and useful.

In what many view as a swift and surprising move, the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block the deal between AT&T (NYS: T) and T-Mobile. The proposed merger would amount to a $39 billion acquisition and would create the largest cell-phone carrier. The antitrust challenge came only five months after the announcement of the deal.

The government said combining the two companies would be detrimental for competition and would leave consumers facing higher prices and fewer options. AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile, have said they were surprised by the government's announcement. AT&T said they believed the deal was past antitrust questioning and they were instead thinking on how to address concerns. If the deal falls through, AT&T will have to pay $6 billion in cash and other considerations. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

A failed deal for AT&T could bring a short-time boost for Sprint Nextel (NYS: S) , experts said. If the deal is blocked, Sprint could benefit from avoiding strong competition in its cell-phone market, although it still faces many challenges. An independent T-Mobile would continue offering lower prices, undercutting Sprint's effort. Sprint has not had a profit since the third quarter of 2007.

Experts said this was great news for the company, which has been lobbying regulators to block the deal. If the deal fails, it leaves Sprint the option to strike a deal with T-Mobile that would expand its network. Verizon (NYS: VZ) , currently the largest cell-phone carrier, is also pleased with the latest developments, as the deal would knock its network from the No. 1 perch. Read more atBloomberg.

Toxic Apple?
An environmental group in China is blaming Apple (NAS: AAPL) for environmental pollution. The group said many of the company's suppliers fail to follow safe practices and have been known to dispose of toxic materials in surrounding communities, threatening public health. The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing filed a 46-page report documenting the alleged improprieties.

Apple has said it regularly conducts audits to ensure its supply chain is following environmental standards and offering safe working conditions. Many other multinationals have been targets of similar criticism. Read more atThe New York Times.

(NYS: GS) will compensate home-loan borrowers for wrongful foreclosures after reaching a deal with New York's banking regulator. The deal was reached between Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, Goldman, and Ocwen Financial Group (NYS: OCN) . The deal is expected to end "robo-signing," which allowed bank employees to sign foreclosures without reviewing each case. The deal will allow Goldman to continue to sell its Litton Loan Servicing unit; Ocwen will buy Litton for $264 million. Read more atReuters.

So there you have it, the top financial stories for this afternoon. If you are interested in getting all the news and commentary on these stocks, sign up to My Watchlist here it's free!

At the time thisarticle was published Michelle Zayed doesn't own any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple and AT&T.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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