AT&T's push to take over DirecTV appears to be moving forward as the telecom has been given approval from federal regulators for the merger. It would be a huge coup for AT&T as it continues to rollout its ultra-fast broadband service across new regions of the country and views television as a potentially massive sector for opportunity.
According to a news report, the wireless carrier and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have agreed to terms for the merger. The announcement comes as many observers believed regulators would not allow the merger for fear of monopoly in the market.
AT&T has agreed to a number of demands issued by the DOJ, although those demands were not made public at press time.
The news now paves the way for the finalization of the business side of things between the two companies.
While the DOJ might be signing off on the deal, the Federal Communications Commission still has to issue a ruling on the merger and is in the process of collecting public comments before a review is handled by the regulator.
The merger process has not been a smooth one, with many concerns being raised by legislators over what they see as the potential monopolization of the television sector with the deal.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken wrote a letter to the DOJ explaining he wanted the department to "carefully scrutinize AT&T's proposed acquisition of DirecTV to determine whether the deal is in the consumers' best interests."
He urged the approval of the deal only if it would be of use to the general public and would see an increase in services and a reduction in prices.
"If AT&T is permitted to acquire DirecTV, the combined entity will have enhanced power in virtually every corner of the telecommunications market-power that AT&T potentially could use to obtain an unfair advantage over consumers and competitors. As such, I have some concerns about this deal," he added.
The two sides are arguing that the merger would give them more mobility in negotiating better programming deals with channels, including Disney's ESPN or Viacom's Comedy Central, which have been taken off a few cable packages across the country in recent months over disputes with cable carriers, Tech Times reports.