FCC Announces Timeout on Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mega-mergers

FCC Announces Timeout on Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mega-mergers

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that it will take some time before it announces a decision about the proposed merger Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) and AT&T's acquiring DirecTV.

The agency said that it would announce the results of its three-month long review of both the mergers by the end of March, but now it has taken time-out due to legal issues. The companies involved in the mergers are not in the favor to release records of video-programming contracts with suppliers.

They have appealed in court that the FCC cannot publish the contracts. "At this time, we believe it is prudent to pause the informal 180-day transaction clocks because the Commission would be advantaged by knowing the resolution of the pending Petition for Review before the transaction clocks reach the 180-day mark", affirmed FCC.

It is considered that the pause will help all the parties are in favor or against the merger, more time to make their case. On the other hand, the US AT&T and DirecTV merger has raised concerns among some. In February 2014, both the companies announced a deal worth $45bn to merge their networks and become the biggest cable company and broadband provider in the US.

As a part of the deal, both the companies agreed to leave 3.9 million customers. This step led many to complain that it would reduce competition in a market. The mayors of New York and Los Angeles have also protested about the deal.

A spokesperson for AT&T said, "We anticipate the issues surrounding the litigation between the FCC and the programmers to be resolved quickly so the FCC can complete its review of our transaction".

A Comcast spokesperson said that they completely understand the FCC's decision to take time-out while the court is reviewing a procedural matter related to the transaction.

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