FCC takes unprecedented action on cable mergers.

The Commission has put on hiatus its review of the proposed mergers of Comcast with Time Warner cable and AT&T with DirecTV. According to reports, the proceeding has been put on hold because content companies are blocking the ability of regulators and consultants to examine their business relationships with the pay-TV companies. As the FCC said in a statement, “We required potential reviewing parties to re-sign the acknowledgment as required under the Joint Protective Orders and provide third parties a procedure by which they could object to certain individuals being permitted to review confidential information. But the content companies filed objections against every individual who sought to review highly confidential information.” Because those who are reviewing the matter have said that they are unable adequately to evaluate the mergers, the evaluations have been put on hold for “an indeterminate amount of time.”