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FCC picks review teams for megamergers

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 1:29pm
Brian Santo

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the members of the panel that will review two proposed mega-mergers: Comcast / Time Warner Cable / Charter, and AT&T / DirecTV. Those who watch such things infer from the choice of panelists that the FCC is not going to simply rubber-stamp either deal.

Hillary Burchuk will lead the working team responsible for the review of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter transaction. Bill Dever from the Wireline Competition bureau will be her deputy.

But the choice of outside counsel is where things will get interesting for Comcast. William Rogerson, who served as chief economist of the FCC during the Clinton Administration, will serve as senior economist overseeing the review of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter deal. Rogerson, a professor at Northwestern University, was a public critic of Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. He will also participate in the review of the proposed AT&T-DirecTV transactions.

Jamillia Ferris will join the Office of General Counsel to lead the working team for the review of the proposed AT&T-DirecTV transaction, the Commission said. Ferris spent several years during the first Obama Administration in the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, and then Chief of Staff and Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division.

Shane Greenstein will serve as senior economic consultant, providing guidance on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter and the proposed AT&T-DirecTV transactions. Greenstein is Professor in the Management and Strategy Department at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and, by courtesy, in the School of Communications, Northwestern University. He is the Kellogg Chair of Information Technology. He studies the business economics of computing, communications and Internet infrastructure.

Jonathan Sallet, General Counsel, will chair the steering committee that will oversee both sets of transactions. Bureau chiefs on the steering committee include Media Bureau Chief Bill Lake, International Bureau Chief Mindel de la Torre, Wireline Competition Bureau Chief Julie Veach, and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Roger Sherman.

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