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AT&T “confident” in closing DirecTV deal this quarter

AT&T said it expects to close  its $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV this quarter.

“As we continue to go through the [regulatory] process, we continue to feel good about we’re at, and we are optimistic and continue to believe we’ll close it this quarter,” said John Stephens, AT&T’s senior vice president and chief financial officer during the company’s first quarter conference call Wednesday afternoon.

Announced last May, the deal that will combine the largest telecom company and the largest satellite TV service is in the final stages of review with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T just recently filed three exparte letters with the FCC touting the competitive benefits and consumer advantages of the merger in response to questions raised by the commission in a meeting last Thursday. Among the benefits, AT&T has promised to build out more broadband in rural areas and increase broadband speeds in metro areas. The FCC has currently paused its 180-day informal shot clock review of the merger at day 170.

“Our legal representatives are having the normal process and contacts with parties within the rules in the normal course,” Stephens added. “If you look at what’s on the record out there and the benefits this brings, I think there’s an easy path to see why this deal would get approved,” he added.

The company didn’t talk about the upcoming broadcast incentive auction, but previous public statements expressed a commitment to  spend $9 billion in the auction, currently planned for early 2016.