The FCC can be a harsher judge than the Justice Department, which is to review the transaction and has asked for detailed information, portending an in-depth antitrust investigation.
The deal in question was announced back in October, when AT&T said it meant to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. (TWX) is the Federal Communications Commission, but the companies said the government agency doesn't have to be involved in the review process.
As of January 4, stockholders Time Warner common stock would be worth $109.35 per share, which is a combination of $53.75 in cash, plus a number of AT&T common stock shares, with Time Warner shareholders holding about %15% of AT&T common stock.
The disclosure could be important: If the Trump administration wants to block the deal, it would have its best shot at the FCC which determines whether transactions serve the public interest. With Trump naming new FCC leaders, that risk was likely too great, he said.
In a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AT&T indicated it believes the FCC won't need to analyze the deal because no licenses under the commission's jurisdiction will be transferred from Time Warner to the carrier. It also holds other licenses that have to do with satellite uplinks.
AT&T did not elaborate on how the licenses would be disposed of. That dynamic helped to end AT&T's bid to buy smaller T-Mobile US Inc.in 2011, as well as top USA cable provider Comcast Corp.'s deal for Time Warner Cable Inc.in 2015. There's been a lot of speculation in Washington that Time Warner would try to divest that station or spin it off.
President-elect Donald Trump has expressed opposition to the deal.