Consumer-focused groups are already pushing back on the potential merger of DirecTV and AT&T, taking a hard line stance against more media consolidation. While AT&T has offered $48.5 billion for DirecTV, and the satellite company has accepted the generous bid, the deal is still subject to intensive review.
Before it is finalized, the merger is subject to approval by DirecTV shareholders, the FCC, the U.S. Department of Justice, several states, and a variety of Latin American countries. If all goes well, the deal will take twelve months to accomplish.
However, D.C.-public interest groups Public Knowledge and Consumers Union (the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports) are already calling for a review of the merger. Public Knowledge's Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer issued this statement:
“The industry needs more competition, not more mergers. The burden is on AT&T and DirecTV to show otherwise. We’ll have to analyze this carefully for potential harms both to the video programming and the wireless markets.
Consumers Union Policy Counsel Delara Derakhshani cut right to the chase on the matter, saying in a statement, "You can’t justify AT&T buying DirecTV by pointing at Comcast’s grab for Time Warner, because neither one is a good deal for consumers.”