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Brazilian watchdog delays ruling on AT&T, Time Warner deal

Brazil's National Telecommunications Agency, or ANATEL, will wait for a ruling by the country's antitrust regulator on the AT&T Inc.-Time Warner Inc. merger before making its own decision on the deal, Rapid TV News reported.

ANATEL has raised concerns about the deal's potential effects on the Brazilian pay TV market, since Time Warner holds a significant share of the programming industry through its HBO and Cinemax channels, while AT&T controls the country's second-largest satellite operator SKY Brasil.

Brazil's competition watchdog, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense said it could announce a final decision on the deal in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, ANATEL prohibited SKY Brasil and its related companies from striking deals or working with Time Warner until it makes its ruling on the transaction. The company could face penalties for not complying with the order, Telecompaper reported Aug. 11.

In the U.S., AT&T and Time Warner are in talks with antitrust officials about conditions on the proposed merger. The companies expect the deal to close by 2017-end.