Sen. Al Franken ‘Skeptical’ of AT&T-DirecTV Deal

Sen. Al Franken 'Skeptical' of AT&T-DirecTV Deal

“We're witnessing a major transformation of the telecom industry — and it's going in exactly the wrong direction”

Sen. Al Franken, a reliable critic of media mergers, says he is “skeptical” of the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV.

The companies announced over the weekend that they have reached a $67 billion deal in which AT&T will acquire DirecTV. The deal follows February's announcement that Comcast plans to acquire Time Warner Cable.

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“I'm skeptical that this deal is in consumers’ best interest,” the Minnesota Democrat said in a statement. “We're witnessing a major transformation of the telecom industry — and it's going in exactly the wrong direction. We're moving toward an industry with fewer competitors — where corporations are getting bigger and bigger and gaining more and more control over the distribution of information.”

Both the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers need federal approval. Franken said he would push for the Federal Communication Commission to scrutinize the deal, and for congressional hearings.

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“This hurts innovation, and it's bad for consumers, who have been getting squeezed by higher bills,” Franken said.