**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest communications mergers in Q2 2014.**
A large telecommunications union on Tuesday expressed support for AT&T’s pending acquisition of DirecTV, claiming the merged company will be a stronger competitor to cable companies in the broadband and video markets.
The Communications Workers of America, or CWA, represents 110,000 AT&T workers who labor in the company’s broadband, wireless and wireline businesses.
The acquisition of DirecTV will result in AT&T boosting its investment in broadband to additional communities, according to CWA in comments filed with the FCC. CWA also said the deal will give DirecTV’s estimated 8,000 to 10,000 non-management employees the opportunity to be represented by a union. AT&T already boasts the nation’s largest full-time union force of any company, according to CWA.
Finally, CWA argued the $67.1 billion transaction (which includes AT&T’s assumption of DirecTV debt) presents few antitrust concerns. DirecTV’s 20 million satellite television customers are located throughout the country while AT&T is a new player in the video market with 5.8 million customers, the union said. The AFL-CIO – which calls itself “the umbrella federation for U.S. unions” – also expressed support for the merger, expressing the view that the deal poses few antitrust concerns, according to Multichannel News.
The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the agreement to determine its impact on competition. Antitrust regulators in several states also are looking at the merger, the second big one that promises to shake up the pay TV industry. Comcast and Time Warner Cable also plan to join forces in a deal that would combine the nation’s two largest cable companies.
Both mergers are subject to approval by the Justice Department and FCC. Comcast has said its acquisition of Time Warner Cable isn’t anticompetitive because the companies largely compete in different areas of the country.