Anatel puts off decision on AT&T-Time Warner merger

The analysis on Time Warner and AT&T merger by the Brazilian regulator Anatel was postponed last August 22nd, as requested by advisor Moises Moreira. The decision was made to make a deeper review and resume the merger process between the companies on September 5th. At that meeting, an additional 120-day extension may be requested for the final analysis.

In Brazil, vertical integration in pay TV is banned, that is, a content generator cannot participate in the distribution. Vicente Aquino, Anatel’s advisor, questioned the pay TV law (known in Brazil as the SeAC Law) violation. According to him, that law does not allow cross-ownership ‘between producers and programmers based in Brazil’, and the AT&T Group has no producers or programmers based in the country.

The merger has already been approved, with restrictions, by the Economic Defense Administrative Council (Cade). Anatel’s approval is the last step to complete the merger process. Brazilian Senate is also ready to vote on the subject, based on a previous project presented by Senator Vanderlan Cardoso, Science, Technology, Innovation, Communication and IT Committee President. 

AT&T has a stake in Brazilian pay TV operator Sky. In October 2016, AT&T agreed to buy Time Warner for USD 84.5 billion. After the acquisition, Time Warner was renamed WarnerMedia.