$48 Billion AT&T-DirecTV Takeover OK’d

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Department of Justice Antitrust Division said Tuesday it will not challenge AT&T’s $48 billion takeover offer for DirecTV.
     The Federal Communications Commission also approved the deal on Tuesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. The merger will create the world’s largest pay-TV company.
     AT&T is the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier; DirecTV is the largest satellite TV service. They announced the merger in May 2014.
     “After an extensive investigation, we concluded that the combination of AT&T’s land-based Internet and video business with DirecTV’s satellite-based video business does not pose a significant risk to competition,” Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer said in the statement.
     Wheeler said in a statement that the approval came with conditions that would “prevent discrimination against online video competition.”
     Among them are that AT&T provide high-speed Internet to 12.5 million customers, and tell the FCC of all agreements it strikes with content and Internet providers. It also must have an independent compliance officer to report to the FCC.
     Netflix, Dish Network and others had sought assurance that AT&T would not slow down Internet speeds for their services.
     AT&T will acquire a heavy legal docket along with the acquisition. DirecTV has been sued more than 360 times since 2012, and has filed at least 255 lawsuits against others in that time, according to the Courthouse News database.
     DirecTV reported $33.3 billion in revenue in 2014, $29 billion of it in the United States. Its $2.76 billion reported operating profit came to a healthy 15.4 percent, according to company reports.
     AT&T reported $131.6 billion in “adjusted revenue” for calendar year 2014.

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