Comcast and AT&T Deal Decisions May Come in March, U.S. Says

U.S. regulators resumed consideration of mergers proposed by Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc., suggesting a decision as early as March.

Comments on Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. are due Dec. 23, the Federal Communications Commission said in an order released today. The agency set Jan. 7 for comments on AT&T’s proposed $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV.

The FCC in October paused its reviews to allow time to resolve complaints from content companies such as CBS Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. over letting other companies see their contracts with the video service providers.

Commenters can have access to some information while a U.S. court resolves the dispute over access to other information with a higher degree of protection, the agency said today.

After the court rules, deadlines may change again to allow time for parties to review newly released material, the agency said today.

The Comcast review has 95 days remaining while the AT&T review has 110 days left, based on clocks that agency uses to set an informal 180-day deadline for considering mergers.

“We will continue to work with the FCC to complete its review of the transaction approvals in the first quarter,” Sena Fitzmaurice, a Washington-based spokeswoman for Comcast, said today in an e-mailed statement.

At AT&T, “we look forward to closing our deal in the first half of next year,” Michael Balmoris, a Washington-based spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.

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