Enlarge / AT&T will own a bunch of new media properties if it is allowed to buy Time Warner. (credit: Aurich Lawson)
US Senate Democrats led by Al Franken (D-Minn.) yesterday challenged AT&T to prove that its proposed purchase of Time Warner will benefit the public interest. Franken’s letter comes as AT&T attempts to avoid a Federal Communications Commission review of its $85.4 billion Time Warner purchase.
In an FCC review, the company would have to file what’s known as a “public interest statement.” This detailed document—the one AT&T filed for its DirecTV purchase was 349 pages long—is meant to prove that a merger is good for the public instead of merely being good for the merging companies.
But AT&T and Time Warner only have to seek an FCC review if Time Warner transfers FCC licenses to AT&T, and the companies have been working up a plan in which Time Warner would transfer or sell those licenses to someone else.
Franken isn’t happy about that. His letter, cosigned by 11 other Democrats and Sen.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), asked AT&T to provide a public interest statement even if the company skips an FCC review.
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