Analysts: AT&T-DirecTV deal benefiting from Comcast-TWC heat

With regulators and the public focused on the proposed merger of the Nos. 1 and 2 cable companies, a preliminary deal combining the biggest phone company in the U.S. with the top satellite TV provider is flying under the regulatory radar.

That is a conclusion put forth Monday by Politico, which notes that there is a general perception that the Comcast/TWC deal is bigger, even though the actual dollar value is slightly lower.

"The AT&T deal is probably benefiting from the fact that it's happening at the same time as the Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) merger," said Paul Gallant, managing director of Guggenheim Securities, to Politico. "The Comcast merger is drawing more fire around the issue of control of broadband. AT&T-DirecTV has more to do with the TV market than broadband."

The New York Post reported in August that AT&T (NYSE: T) had agreed to stipulations put forth by the Department of Justice that would remove anti-trust considerations as a regulatory hurdle. That has not been confirmed by the outlet, however.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission has set an Oct. 16 deadline for dissenting comments about the DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) purchase. Aside from input by public interest groups such as FreePress and Public Knowledge, AT&T has generated nowhere near the several million comments generated by Comcast/TWC.

"AT&T had this in the works for a while and intentionally decided to jump when Comcast did," said Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood, also to Politico. "In some cases, it's a matter of resources. We're opposing both of them, but it's a stretch for us."

For more:
- read this Politico story

Related links:
AT&T-DirecTV combo promises new challenges for Comcast-TWC merger
AT&T faces merger heat from Netflix and former cellular partners but gets Microsoft's blessing
Comcast says merger foes guided by self-interest, not consumer benefit
AT&T-DirecTV merger may provide much needed cover for Comcast

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