AT&T expects to be able to bypass a powerful telecommunications regulator in its planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, the companies say in regulatory filings today.
As Reuters reports, Time Warner says that because it does not plan to transfer any Federal Communications Commission licenses to AT&T, it would likely not need FCC approval and would only need the consent of the U.S. Justice Department.
AT&T could forego the FCC by unloading a Time Warner broadcast station, analysts say. Despite its big media footprint, Time Warner has only one FCC-regulated broadcast station, WPCH-TV in Atlanta. But it has other more minor FCC licenses.
The deal faces other hurdles. For example, President-elect Donald Trump has said he opposes the merger, and today a transition official told Reuters that Trump still is against the deal.
Time Warner shareholders will meet on Feb. 15 to decide whether to approve the deal.