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AT&T, DirecTV extend merger termination date again

For the second time, AT&T and DirecTV were forced to extend the merger termination date of their agreement to give regulators more time to “facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval required to close the merger.”

No date was given, but the latest filing predicts that approval is imminent.

“AT&T expects that the merger will be consummated shortly,” the company said in the 8K filed Monday evening.

AT&T announced its deal to acquire DirecTV for $48.5 billion in May 2014. In the past few days, speculation has focused on what conditions the companies might accept in order to close the acquisition, including agreeing to follow the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which the company is challenging in the D.C. court of appeals.

When it announced the deal, the companies also promised a few other goodies that might appeal to the FCC, such as building out more wireless broadband in rural areas and agreeing to offer its broadband service as a stand alone-offering.

AT&T tried to take interconnection issues off the table by signing earlier this month a long-term, bilateral interconnection agreement with Cogent and the month before with Level 3.

Despite those agreements, New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) last week reiterated  its request for interconnection conditions on the AT&T-DirecTV merger, pointing to data from M-Labs that indicated AT&T had “patterns of degradation” at interconnection points.  The conclusions and the methodology that generated the data were disputed by AT&T and Dan Rayburn of StreamingMedia.com.