Microsoft backs AT&T-DirecTV tie-up
| 20 September 2014
Microsoft has submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission, urging the regulatory body to approve AT&T's $48.5bn bid for DirecTV, noting the deal’s implications for the expansion of Internet access to more Americans.
If the merger goes through, AT&T has pledged to expand access to broadband for an additional 13 million rural customers. The pledge is part of the telco’s efforts to convince the FCC that the mega-merger is in the public interest.
The letter comes as the FCC wraps up its formal review of the merger; the commission is expected to issue its formal reply to public comments on 16 October.
Even if the FCC approves the deal, the Justice Department will be issuing its own approvals and is in the process of examining the merger for antitrust ramifications.
Also this week, more than 90 former business partners of AT&T operating under the moniker of the Minority Cellular Partners Coalition demanded that the FCC block the DirecTV bid, saying that AT&T engaged in “anti-competitive behaviour and violated fiduciary duty.”
AT&T has so far made no public comment on the petitions.