Staffers at both agencies, who coordinated closely on their reviews, said concessions in the form of divestitures and conditions couldn’t solve the problem that the merger would control too much of the market.
“Antitrust law is not about lobbying,” said Reed Hundt, who served as FCC chairman during the Clinton administration. “Maybe they wanted to push the edge of antitrust law, but I’ve never seen a merger get through just on lobbying.”
The rejections from the government caught the corporate giant off guard.
Three months before the FCC delivered its blow, the company was equally unprepared when Justice blocked the deal. The morning of the announcement, Stephenson told CNBC anchors that he was confident regulators would agree the deal was good for the economy.
In characteristic style, AT&T remains uncowed. It’s getting ready for its showdown in court against the Justice Department. And in response to the FCC’s report on the merger, AT&T sent a scathing letter calling the document “an advocacy piece, and not a considered analysis.”