AT&T Corp., Basking Ridge, N.J., today got final approval to buy MediaOne and become the biggest player in the cable TV business. However, the Federal Communications Commission signed off on the $58 billion deal only after extracting major concessions. AT&T will have to divest major assets and has three choices: AT&T can either divest all its interest in Time Warner Entertainment; end its existing interest in programming including its share of Liberty Media; or sell off 11.8% of the combined company's cable systems. The FCC decided not to force AT&T to open its cable pipes to other Internet companies, but FCC Chairman William Kennard said one reason was the company's willingness to do so voluntarily. He said AT&T also had promised not to block broadband video services.
Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.