You may remember that Comcast tried to buy Time Warner Cable recently. And that deal fell through thanks to the DOJ and FCC. Well AT&T had a similar deal, with DirecTV, and many thought that might fall through too. But it appears that AT&T hasn't had the same regulatory backlash as Comcast. And in fact, the review of the deal is almost complete, and according to The Wall Street Journal, it's likely to be approved.
The deal for AT&T and DirecTV was estimated at about $48.5 billion, which is no small chunk of change. While regulators may not block the deal, the WSJ is stating that there may be some conditions put on the deal. At first glance, it's hard to see why the FCC would be okay with this deal going through and not the Comcast/Time Warner deal. But when you think about it, AT&T's deal wouldn't be monopolizing the industry, like Comcast's deal would have. Comcast is the number one internet service provider and Time Warner is number two. Not to mention the fact that they both offer cable and are number one and two respectively, there too. It would just make AT&T a rather large media player. To help sweeten the deal, AT&T had committed to bringing broadband to more rural areas, which likely helped the regulators swallow this deal.
In The Wall Street Journal's report, they stated that final regulatory approval for the deal is probably "weeks away". However you can expect that things will wrap up pretty quickly once the approval is complete. As that is the longest part of an acquisition, especially an acquisition like this.
Many thought once Comcast pulled out of attempting to buy Time Warner, that the AT&T deal might be dead as well. However it's looking like it will go through as planned. This will, however, make AT&T a more viable competitor to Comcast, especially since they own NBC. As well as Time Warner, who owns a slew of cable channels as well. More competition is always good for the consumer. It will be interesting to see what comes of all this.