Brazil’s antitrust authority, the Administrative Council for Economic Defence (Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica, CADE), has approved AT&T Inc’s pending acquisition of media giant Time Warner Inc. As with the approvals previously obtained in Chile and Mexico, CADE approved the merger with targeted conditions to address specific issues it identified. However, CADE’s approval does not require the sale or divestiture of any AT&T or Time Warner assets. It had previously been feared that AT&T may have been forced to divest its lucrative Brazilian pay-TV business, Sky Brazil, in order to force the deal through. With CADE’s approval, AT&T and Time Warner have received all required merger approvals outside of the US. In the US, the transaction remains under review by the Department of Justice (DoJ); AT&T expects the transaction to close by the end of 2017.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in October 2016 AT&T diversified its traditional telecoms-focused strategy when it agreed to pay USD85 billion for media and entertainment conglomerate Time Warner Inc. If the deal is approved, AT&T – which has an extensive pay-TV base in the US and across Latin America via its DirecTV subsidiary – will seek to leverage Time Warner’s vast library of content; the media giant owns HBO, Warner Bros and Turner. Time Warner exited the US broadband market in May 2016 with the sale of TV, internet and telephony provider Time Warner Cable (TWC) to Charter Communications, which rebranded the triple-play operations under its Spectrum banner.