FCC votes to approve AT&T-DirecTV deal, clearing final regulatory hurdle, Reuters reports

AT&T's (NYSE: T) proposed $49 billion purchase of DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) has cleared its final hurdle, according to Reuters, which reported that at least three of the FCC's five commissioners have voted to approve the deal.

An official announcement of the deal's approval by the FCC is expected later today.

Reuters' report follows a statement released late Thursday by FCC commissioner Mike O'Reilly, indicating his vote in favor of the deal. O'Rielly also took issue with the length of the review, which will likely close more than 14 months after AT&T first proposed the deal.

"After reading the order as prepared by commission staff, reviewing the voluminous record in the proceeding, and listening to interested parties, I voted the item this afternoon," O'reilly wrote. "To be clear, this process shouldn't have taken this long, and we shouldn't have been so cavalier with the commission's merger review 'shot clock,' but at least we have arrived at this final stage."

Earlier in the week, while announcing that the agreement was being put up for vote with the other four FCC commissioners, agency chairman Tom Wheeler said he was voting in favor of the deal. This followed approval by the Department of Justice on Tuesday.

Approval came with a range of conditions for AT&T, primarily in the area of how it runs its broadband operations. Regulators are requiring AT&T to further extend broadband services to poor and rural Americans, for example. They also want to make sure the company doesn't discriminate against rival online video services.

The deal will create the largest pay-TV operator in the U.S., serving nearly 28 million video customers.

For more:
- read this Reuters story
- read this statement from FCC commissioner Mike O'Rielly

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