An impasse between AT&T and the FCC over the company's attempted $86 billion purchase of BellSouth may be about to break. In a 19-page letter filed with the FCC yesterday, AT&T made several additional concessions which the company hopes will be sufficient to placate the FCC's two Democrat leaders and gain it approval of the merger. Prominent among the concessions was a promise by AT&T to respect "net neutrality" provisions that would require it to treat all Internet content equally. As part of the deal, the new post-merger AT&T would have about 11.5 million high speed internet subscribers. A new FCC vote on the merger might come as soon as today.
• Sources: AT&T's Letter To the FCC [pdf file], Wall Street Journal, AP/Newsday, Bloomberg
• Related commentary: AT&T/Bell South Merger Stalled as FCC Member Refuses to Vote, Justice Dept. Antitrust Chief: AT&T/BellSouth Merger is 'Straightforward Deal', Citi: Buy AT&T and Sell Verizon, Annals of Accounting: A Look at AT&T and Verizon's Methods.Conference call transcripts: AT&T Q3 2006
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: AT&T (T), BellSouth (BLS). Competitors: Verizon (VZ), Sprint Nextel Corporation (S), Qwest Communications (Q). ETFs: Telecom HOLDRS (TTH), iShares S&P Global Telecom (IXP), iShares Dow Jones US Telecom (IYZ), PowerShares Dyn. Telecom & Wireless (PTE), Vanguard Telecommunication Services (VOX)
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