We continue to believe the AT&T (NYSE:T)/Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) deal is on track for ultimate approval, but opponents and critics of the transaction are escalating their attacks in an effort to gain leverage for conditions and other mandates that could be imposed on the combined entity.
Earlier this week, the sole Democrat on the FCC, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, suggested the FCC could assert review power over the transaction under the Clayton Act, the primary antitrust enforcement statute governing mergers. In addition, several Democratic senators on Capitol Hill demanded and received AT&T's public interest/consumer benefit justification for the merger.
Deal critics wanted some kind of substitute for the typical public interest filing that would have been made, had the companies submitted the deal to the FCC for approval. Thus far, AT&T (T) has determined it will not seek the transfer of any FCC-regulated licenses from Time Warner (TWX), obviating the need for FCC review and approval.