AT&T deal to buy DirecTV for $48.5 bn hits roadblock

American wireless carrier AT&T is facing significant regulatory hurdles to buy DirecTV for $48.5 billion.

Two lawmakers on the U.S. Senate’s antitrust panel — Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee — wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler to urge that they should consider several key issues before allowing the deal.

A Reuters report said the lawmakers expressed concerns, in a letter dated October 31, about plans of AT&T to buy DirecTV, including the impact on three regional sports networks.

DirecTV deal

Klobuchar and Lee urged consideration of the effect the deal could have on consumers’ access to broadband service, and worries over the loss of independent programming as the number of buyers for this programming shrinks.

They also urged a probe into whether the deal would prompt DirecTV to raise what it charges other companies to broadcast its three regional sports networks. The networks, known as Root Sports Northwest, Pittsburgh and Rocky Mountain, carry a variety of professional and college sports across 18 states.

editor@telecomlead.com