AT&T – Time Warner Deal Heads for Home Stretch

Mexican regulators have given their seal of approval to the pending acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T. The approval was expected and means that the United States, Brazil, and Chile are the only remaining countries that need to approve the acquisition before it closes after approval has been received by sixteen countries thus far, which the companies expect will happen by the end of the year.

Discussions with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the United States seem to be focused on reaching an agreement regarding how AT&T would handle customer data used for targeted advertising. The DOJ wants AT&T to commit to making that data available to competitors at “a reasonable price.” Reports also indicate that the DOJ is concerned with AT&T’s DirecTV segment favoring Time Warner channels instead of competitors.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to block the deal, saying it was “a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” So far, there have been no indications that the president intends to interfere in the Justice Department’s review.

Brazil is likely the most challenging review process left. AT&T gained control of Sky Brasil, a satellite television operator, when it purchased DirecTV. With 30% of the Brazilian market, Sky is second largest to America Movil in the country. Law in the country prohibits pay-TV-providers from also owning content providers, making it likely that AT&T will need to sell the division before gaining the blessing of regulators in Brazil. Brazil’s decision is due to come by November 22nd.


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