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In AT&T Deal, Bankers, Not Consumers, Are Sure To Win

Eleven years ago, at the height of the telecom bubble, Deutsche Telekom paid about $51 billion for one of America's smallest national cell phone companies, hoping to gain entry into the burgeoning U.S. market.

On Monday, the German giant announced it's selling the offspring of that deal -- T-Mobile USA -- to AT&T for $39 billion.

That 2000 investment -- now worth about 40 percent less after adjusting for inflation -- has cost Deutsche Telekom and its shareholders dearly. The benefits for the American public, which were widely touted at the time as the German company fought for regulatory approval, are debatable.

But the bankers on those deals sure made a killing.