It's Official: Merger Clocks Restart
The Federal Communications Commission has officially restarted the clock on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV merger deals.
In a public notice issued Wednesday (Dec. 3), the FCC said that it would restarting the review process on both deals now that a court had granted expedited hearing to a challenge by programmers of the viewing of programming contracts ("video programming confidential information, or VPCI) by third parties
The clocks were stopped, as well as the pleading cycles for the deals, after that third-party access was challenged.
But the FCC is allowing third-party access to other confidential info starting immediately, and has restarted the informal 180-day shot clocks on both deals.
The clock on the merger of Comcast and TWC — the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable providers, respectively — is restarting at day 85, which is where it stopped. The clock on the merger of telco AT&T and satellite-TV provider DirecTV is being set back six days. It stopped at day 76, but the agency will restart it on day 70, from the day of an AT&T-DirecTV filing.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
By Kent Gibbons