Time Warner, Inc. (NYSE: TWX) stated on Thursday it plans to sell a broadcast station in Atlanta to Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP), which could aid in speeding up the company’s intended merger with AT& T, Inc. (NYSE: T). In January, AT&T mentioned that it anticipated to be able to bypass the Federal Communications Commission in its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner because it would not look to transfer any Time Warner licenses.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday refused to state if he would look to use the projected TV station license transfer as a method to analyze the AT&T Time Warner merger. Approximately a dozen senators have advocated him to evaluate the deal. Time Warner is selling WPCH-TV in Atlanta, which is its only FCC-regulated broadcast station. But it has other smaller FCC licenses.
Time Warner mentioned last month that since it does not intend to transfer any FCC licenses to AT&T, it would likely not need FCC approval and would only need the consent of the U.S. Justice Department. The Justice Department has to prove a proposed deal hurts competition in order to block it. But the FCC has broad leeway to block a merger it deems is not in the “public interest” and can insist additional conditions.