FCC approves $86B telecom merger Katerina Ossenova at 8:24 AM ET
[JURIST] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] approved the proposed $86 billion AT&tT-BellSouth merger [AT&T materials] Friday, after several months delay. The telecom merger was approved [press release] 4-0 by the FCC commissioners, who found that "significant public interest benefits are likely to result from this transaction." The merger has been delayed three times [JURIST report] as the proposal has failed to gain approval from a majority of the five FCC commissioners. The fifth FCC Commissioner, Robert M. McDowell [official profile], did not vote [PDF statement; JURIST report] on the merger despite being cleared [JURIST report] to do so by the FCC general counsel, due to a conflict of interest. McDowell's recusal had left a 2-2 deadlock between the remaining commissioners over what conditions should be imposed on the merger. A consensus was reached upon the acceptance of the conditions that AT&T had proposed in a formal letter [text] sent to the FCC on Thursday.
AT&T's proposed acquisition of BellSouth was first announced in March 2006; the merger will create the nation's dominant phone company. The merger had already been approved [text] without reservation by the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division [official website] following an eight-month investigation that concluded that AT&T's proposed acquisition of BellSouth was not likely to "substantially reduce competition" in the US telecom market. CNET News has more.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.