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Archive for Friday, December 29, 2006

AT&T concessions may lead to merger approval

December 29, 2006

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— AT&T Inc. has offered a new set of concessions that are expected to satisfy the two Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission and lead to approval of the company's $85 billion buyout of BellSouth Corp.

Approval by the full commission could happen as soon as today.

AT&T filed a letter of commitment with the agency Thursday night that adds a number of new conditions to the deal, including a promise to observe "network neutrality" principles, an offer of affordable stand-alone digital subscriber line service and a promise to give up some wireless spectrum.

Final approval still requires a vote of the commissioners, which can happen at any time via computer. The proposed deal is the largest telecommunications merger in U.S. history.

AT&T offered the concessions after a little more than a week of marathon negotiations with attorneys who work for the two Democrats on the commission, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, documents show.

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