AT&T faces opposition to its merger with Time Warner from multiple sides—including the executive branch of government. The telecommunications company has also encountered suspicions concerning licenses granted by the Federal Communications Commission.
In regulatory filings dated January 6, AT&T asserts that its $85 billion merger will go on according to plan. AT&T adds that it does not plan on transferring FCC licenses between companies, so there should not be a question of FCC intervention.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AT&T stated that Time Warner reviewed all licenses held that were granted by the FCC and did not anticipate the need to transfer these licenses to AT&T. However, some doubt remains as to how exactly the two telecommunication giants plan to dispose of the licenses in question before the merger is to take place.
Bloomberg reports that Time Warner could be looking to sell these its licenses another broadcaster; a person familiar with the matter holds that instead of owning the licenses, Time Warner can contract with third party companies. The issue of licensing is not the only one AT&T must confront before it can successfully merge with Time Warner. President-elect Donald Trump pledged to oppose the merger during his campaign, citing concerns of one company having too much of a monopoly. Reuters reports his position has not moved on the issue, according to a transition official. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes remains confident that opposition to the deal will fall once everyone is well-informed. At an investigative Senate Judiciary hearing on the merger, Bewkes attributed opposition to misinformation, “There were comments made from candidates on all sides, saying they were against the merger before any of them had information.”
The deciding factor of the AT&T-Time Warner merger at this point is Time Warner itself. The February 15th shareholder meeting will review the terms of the deal and determine whether or not to approve it.
Originally published on Biznob and Rush Hour Daily on Jan 10, 2017.