July 24, 2015
By Josh Long
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it approved AT&T’s $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV, subject to AT&T meeting a number of conditions that will generally remain in effect for four years after the merger closes.
The U.S. Justice Department also has completed its review of the deal, paving the way for AT&T and DirecTV to merge.
The FCC found that the agreement, subject to the conditions imposed, was in the public interest. Among other conditions, AT&T has agreed to expand fiber-to-the-home service to 12.5 million customer locations, refrain from imposing discriminatory terms and conditions on its broadband service, and submit its interconnection agreements to the FCC.
Regulators were kinder to the AT&T, DirecTV merger than Comcast’s failed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. In April, Comcast called it quits in the face of stiff government opposition to the $45 billion deal.
“Combining DIRECTV with AT&T is all about giving customers more choices for great video entertainment integrated with mobile and high-speed Internet service,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We’ll now be able to meet consumers’ future entertainment preferences, whether they want traditional TV service with premier programming, their favorite content on a mobile device, or video streamed over the Internet to any screen.
“This transaction allows us to significantly expand our high-speed Internet service to reach millions more households, which is a perfect complement to our coast-to-coast TV and mobile coverage,” Stephenson added. “We’re now a fundamentally different company with a diversified set of capabilities and businesses that set us apart from the competition.”
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