A long-delayed buyout deal between AT&T and BellSouth may close as early as Friday, CNBC's David Faber reported.
AT&T's proposed buyout of BellSouth was thrown into doubt this week when Robert McDowell, a member of the Federal Communications Commission and a former telecommunications industry lobbyist, said he would not vote on the deal.
McDowell's personal disqualification left the nation's largest telecommunications merger stuck at a presumed 2-2 deadlock. He said he hoped his fellow commissioners "will come back to the negotiating table in good faith to offer meaningful concessions."
But ongoing negotiations between AT&T and BellSouth may be addressing conditions that have hung up the deal, Faber said. Two Democrats on the commission, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, have insisted that AT&T agree to allowances on the issue of network neutrality.
McDowell, a Republican, is a former lobbyist for a trade group that opposes the merger.
AT&T was one of the few bright spots on the Dow during Thursday's session. The company released a statement this week saying it "will -- as we have always done -- do our part to bring the merger review to a bipartisan completion as quickly as possible."
The $84 billion deal would be the largest telecommunications merger in U.S. history.
The Antitrust Division of the Justice Department cleared the deal on Oct. 11, declaring there were no competitive concerns and opting not to require the combined company to divest assets or make any other concessions.