AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (L) and Time Warner Inc CEO Jeff Bewkes. REUTERS

Could particular content rights stymie AT&T/Time Warner merger?

After months of consideration, last week the New Zealand Commerce Commission declined to grant a clearance for Sky Television, the country’s dominant pay television provider, and Vodafone, the number one mobile and number two fixed broadband provider, to merge. The New Zealand competition authority’s decision raises some interesting questions relevant to the assessment of other mergers between content distribution networks (CDNs) and broadband access operators, such as the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner.