Media mega-mergers under the microscope

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Megamergers are heading back to Congress with lawmakers set to probe AT&T’s $49 billion bid to buy DirecTV, the second mammoth media deal to come under scrutiny in 2014.

The hearing comes with many lawmakers expressing growing skepticism about the trend toward consolidation following earlier hearings on the proposed Comcast and Time Warner Cable deal. That sentiment could boil over when the AT&T and DirecTV executives come to Washington for a set of double-header hearings in the House and Senate.

“On the one hand you’ve got to look at each of these mergers on their own individual merit but you can’t ignore the broader landscape,” said John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at the consumer interest group Public Knowledge.

“Yes, you have to just look at the facts of this one but you also have to bear in mind an ever more concentrated communications market,” added Bergmayer, who has been critical of the deal and is slated to testify in the House. Both AT&T and DirecTV say they are missing a crucial component in the suite of services that their subscribers are looking for.

Media mega-mergers under the microscope Congress kicks tires on AT&T merger (The Hill)