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FCC: AT&T-Time Warner Deal Won't Be Reviewed

Image: FCC: AT&T-Time Warner Deal Won't Be Reviewed

Ajit Pai, Chairman of U.S Federal Communications Commission, delivers his keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 28, 2017. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 Feb 2017 09:02 AM

The FCC doesn’t expect to review the AT&T-Time Warner deal, which is valued at more than $85 billion.

The new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, said Tuesday that AT&T’s merger with Time Warner will not require a review from the FCC because the deal isn't expected to include a transfer of any broadcast licenses, according to USA Today.

“That is the regulatory hook for FCC review,” Pai told The Wall Street Journal on Monday. “My understanding is that the deal won’t be presented to the commission.”

Time Warner's recent agreement to sell its Atlanta television stations to Meredith Corp. helped clear the path for AT&T's takeover of Time Warner, the Journal noted.

While at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, some discussed whether the U.S. market should consolidate to allow companies to invest in 5G, according to Variety.

However, Pai made it clear that it shouldn’t be up to regulators to make that decision.

“No regulator…should hypothesize in the abstract about what the optimal market structure should be, [or] what the optimal number of competitors should be,” Pai said, according to Variety. “The goal is always to have a competitive marketplace that both protects consumers and provides an incentive for the private sector to continue investing and innovating.”

“All we can do is take a look at the marketplace in a moment in time and try to discern: Is this regulatory framework the best one we can have in order to incentivize these massive investments in networks that are going to benefit consumers in years to come,” he added.

Pai, who was hired by President Donald Trump last month, was asked whether the political era we’re currently in has any impact on decisions such as this to stay clear of the AT&T-Time Warner deal.

“I take a very boring, humble view of my role as a regulator: We are an independent agency that is charged with analyzing all the facts that are put before us and trying to render a decision based on well-established laws and precedents,” Pai said, according to Variety.

The Justice Department is in the process of reviewing the merger, according to a recent letter that was authored by both AT&T and Time Warner, USA Today noted.

“We currently anticipate that Time Warner will not need to transfer any of its FCC licenses to AT&T to maintain its business operations,” the letter read, according to USA Today. “This merger will unleash a new wave of innovation in the video marketplace and bring much-needed competition to cable providers. Market realities refute any concerns about anticompetitive effects.”

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The FCC doesn't expect to review the AT&T-Time Warner deal, which is valued at more than $85 billion.
fcc, att, time warner, merger
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2017-02-28
Tuesday, 28 Feb 2017 09:02 AM
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