Time Warner TV-Station Sale Approved, Easing AT&T Deal Path

  • Meredith Corp. cleared by FCC to buy WPCH-TV in Atlanta
  • Sale would ease U.S. review of Time Warner purchase by AT&T

U.S. regulators approved Time Warner Inc.’s sale of its only TV station, clearing a transaction that helps ease scrutiny of the film and TV giant’s proposed $85.4 billion purchase by AT&T Inc.

The Federal Communications Commission granted Meredith Corp. permission to buy WPCH in Atlanta from Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System, according to an announcement posted on the agency’s website.

The FCC, which oversees broadcast licenses, could have grounds to scrutinize the AT&T-Time Warner deal if the station were part of the transaction.

“We’re pleased that the FCC approved the application,” Art Slusark, a spokesman for Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith, said in an email. “We look forward to moving forward expeditiously to close this deal.”

The price for the station is roughly $70 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The Justice Department is conducting an antitrust review that examines the impact on competition of the Time Warner-AT&T deal.

The merger announced Oct. 22 would create a telecommunications and media empire that will own much of the programming it provides to subscribers of its wireless, internet and pay-TV services.

President Donald Trump as a candidate called the deal "an example of the power structure I’m fighting," and said he would block it. He privately reiterated his opposition to the merger after the election, and later said the government still had to review the details.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told lawmakers last month the agency doesn’t have authority over the transaction because of the way it’s structured.

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