4:45 p.m. FCC approves merger deal with AT&T and Time Warner
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a $85 billion merger between AT&I and Time-Warner, allowing the cable and telecommunications giant to become the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier and the biggest broadband provider.
The deal, which also includes a deal with Comcast Corp., was approved by the commission’s four-member board in a vote that came hours after the Justice Department sued the companies for antitrust violations.
The decision to approve the merger will be final.
AT&E, which is part of the merger, is expected to announce its plans for the deal in the coming weeks.
The FCC voted 3-2 to approve AT&S as the new operator.
In a statement, the companies said they are committed to continuing to support consumers and the environment, while strengthening the American economy.
AT &T said the merger “will help ensure that AT&& ;& m remain a leader in the communications industry.”
The deal gives AT&ts a large footprint in more than 70 million homes and businesses in the United States, according to a company release.
AT will retain a 49.9 percent stake in Time Warner.
The merger would create the nations largest video, broadband and wireless provider.
AT has said it wants to become a “super network” for consumers and businesses.
Time Warner will become the biggest TV and Internet company in the country.
AT executives said in a statement that the merger is the best opportunity to ensure that Americans have the best and fastest broadband choices, and it will enable the companies to grow their businesses in ways that are competitive with their competitors.
“We are grateful to the Commission and the American people for their hard work and commitment to protecting the open Internet,” said Eric Shanks, president and CEO of AT&Ts parent company, Time Warner Inc. “The combination of AT and Time will enable AT&G to be a dominant provider of broadband, mobile, voice and TV, and help ensure the Internet remains a premier platform for content, innovation and creativity.”
AT&P, which owns DirecTV, T-Mobile, and Dish Network, is the biggest U.S. wireless company.
It is also expected to make a deal to acquire Directv later this year.
AT and T-mobile have been under intense scrutiny for a number of years because of the cost of service and content, which the companies say are too expensive.
But they also face antitrust lawsuits from rivals, and regulators have said they have not found any evidence that consumers have been harmed by the merger.