No AT&T-Time Warner merger assessment anticipated: U.S. regulator’s chairman | Information


By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON The top of the U.S. Federal Communications Fee doesn’t anticipate to assessment AT&T Inc’s (T.N) deliberate $85.four billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), a spokesman for the company mentioned on Monday.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had informed the Wall Avenue Journal in an interview on Monday on the Cellular World Congress in Barcelona that he didn’t foresee a job for the FCC on the takeover and his feedback have been confirmed to Information by FCC spokesman Neil Grace.

Final Thursday, Time Warner mentioned it plans to promote a broadcast station in Atlanta to Meredith Corp for $70 million, which may assist velocity the corporate’s deliberate merger with AT&T. Pai declined to say on Thursday if he would use that switch to attempt to assessment the broader merger.

In January, AT&T mentioned it anticipated to have the ability to bypass the FCC as a result of it will not search to switch any Time Warner licenses.

A couple of dozen U.S. senators have urged him to assessment the deal.

The station that Time Warner is promoting, WPCH-TV in Atlanta, is its solely FCC-regulated broadcast station. It has different, extra minor FCC licenses. Meredith has operated WPCH-TV for Time Warner since 2011. It was beforehand know as WTBS.

Time Warner mentioned final month it anticipated it will solely want the consent of the U.S. Division of Justice.

The Justice Division, which is reviewing paperwork submitted on the proposed merger, has to show a proposed deal harms competitors so as to block it. The FCC has broad leeway to dam a merger it deems isn’t within the “public curiosity” and might impose extra situations.

AT&T Chief Government Randall Stephenson informed CNBC earlier this month the Justice Division assessment was ongoing and he thought the deal would shut by the tip of the 12 months. “It is a clear transaction,” he mentioned.

Folks briefed on the matter don’t anticipate the Justice Division to behave on the merger till an assistant legal professional normal overseeing the anti-trust division is known as and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

AT&T, which repeatedly clashed with the FCC underneath President Barack Obama over main trade rules, mentioned final 12 months one profit to its shopping for Time Warner is that the programing firm is “flippantly regulated in comparison with a lot of AT&T’s present operations.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; modifying by Grant McCool)