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DOJ Wants DirecTV & Dish Merger To Wait: Sources

 |  October 15, 2020

The merger of Dish Network with AT&T’s DirecTV has been squashed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), The Post has learned.

Regulators with the DOJ’s antitrust division recently informed executives of AT&T that a marriage between DirecTV and Dish would likely have to wait until faster 5G wireless service is more widely available in rural markets, two sourc­es close to the situation said. Regulators remain concerned that a union could lead to higher prices in areas lacking high-speed Internet access, including tribal lands, sources said.

The DOJ raised these same concerns two years ago and talks between the two companies fell apart. This time, AT&T is moving forward with an auction of DirecTV, just without Dish, sources said.

“A merger would be difficult,” a source with direct knowledge of AT&T’s talks with the DOJ told The Post. The regulator could always change its mind, but likely won’t as it delivered its assessment after having closely studied the broadband market while reviewing T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint last year, the source added.

AT&T, meanwhile, doesn’t want to wait around for a DOJ review only to be told no, especially after being forced to wait 20 months to close on its US$85 billion merger with Time Warner.

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