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Netflix demands changes to AT&T-DirecTV merger plan

AT&T said it has already addressed Netflix's concerns in the review process.

By CBR Staff Writer

Netflix has urged the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject AT&T’s proposed $48bn merger with DirecTV unless some changes are made to the deal.

According to a regulatory disclosure, Netflix said, if the deal is approved, "AT&T would become the nation’s largest multichannel video programming distributor. After AT&T’s projected broadband investments, it could become the largest ISP as well."

The move could harm online video distributors to prevent or delay cord-cutting and cord-shaving.

Netflix told the FCC in its letter, "The applicants also attempt to distinguish themselves from Comcast by noting that they are not vertically integrated with a significant video programmer.

"This is beside the point. AT&T’s investment in a business model that profits by selling bundled programming packages will result in a powerful incentive to protect that model.

Netflix said it is not opposing the deal in principle, but only has concerns on its current form.

Netflix spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo said in a statement, "While we are participating in the government’s review, we are not opposing the merger.

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"We’ve been highlighting concerns about AT&T’s broadband practices and the need for appropriate remedies since last September."

AT&T said it will not comment on Netflix’s latest letter and has already addressed the company’s concerns in the review process.

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