AT&T’s proposed $49 billion purchase of El Segundo satellite TV giant DirecTV likely won’t be blocked by federal regulators, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are reportedly near the end of reviewing the deal. The FCC could impose conditions on the agreement, but none is expected to be unfavorable to the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources.
There has been opposition to the deal, including from streaming video provider Netflix Inc. Officials from the Los Gatos company met with FCC commissioners last month to express concerns that the AT&T-DirecTV merger could harm Netflix and other online video providers. Netflix argued that the combined companies could work to “prevent or delay cord-cutting,” or the shift of consumers from cable and satellite TV to streaming online programming. However, the company has said it is not trying to block the merger.
AT&T will reportedly aim to expand broadband access to rural parts of the country, making the deal more attractive to the FCC. AT&T and DirecTV are hoping their deal avoids the fate of another blockbuster merger, the planned union of cable providers Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable, which was called off late last month amid scrutiny from the FCC and other federal regulators.
DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer and AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris both said their companies had no comment.
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