The $49 billion AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) merger agreement, first proposed more than a year ago, could be "days" away from receiving regulatory approval.
According to Broadcasting & Cable, which cites anonymous Beltway sources, the regulatory review of the deal is at most a "couple of weeks" away from closing.
Analysts at New Street Research said they expect the deal to close sometime this month, likely after the 4th of July holiday. "It is possible that the FCC could approve the transaction by the end of the week of July 6th, but that does not appear the most likely outcome at this point. Rather we think the odds favor the week of the 13th or 20th," they wrote.
It was already reported several months ago that the Department of Justice and AT&T were close on basic terms of an agreement that would allow the wireless giant to purchase the satellite TV company. The FCC's "shot clock" for its own review process remains stopped at day 170.
To gain approval of the deal from the Justice Department, AT&T (NYSE: T) will likely have to abide by the FCC's new net neutrality rules. AT&T has largely agreed to this, according to reports, but ironing out the finer points of ongoing broadband behavior with the Justice Department has taken time.
Opponents of the merger, including Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Cogent, asked regulators to mandate that AT&T offer a standalone broadband product, with set price and speed, for seven years.
AT&T has already agreed to provide such a service for three years following federal approval of the deal, but pushed back on any time mandate beyond that, noting that it's not getting any broadband infrastructure with its DirecTV purchase.
In order to obtain FCC approval for its own proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable, Charter has said it will "go further" than the FCC's recently adopted net neutrality order by not imposing data caps or any other usage-based pricing.
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story
DirecTV triples damages claim in Al Jazeera lawsuit to $74.5M; gets ready to pull channel
Report: AT&T may agree to follow new net neutrality rules to close DirecTV purchase
AT&T, DirecTV push back against merger conditions, as FCC shot clock remains stopped