Tom Wheeler, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the FCC, agreed to sell holdings of $500,001 to $1 million in both AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) to resolve possible conflicts of interest before taking office.
Wheeler, a former head of wireless and cable trade groups, disclosed his holdings and willingness to divest from 78 companies that also include Google Inc. (GOOG) and smartphone maker Apple Inc. (AAPL) in documents released yesterday by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He also reported stakes in top cable company Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) worth $2,002 to $30,000 that he would sell.
As head of the Federal Communications Commission, Wheeler would regulate broadcast and cable companies, review industry mergers and help set rules for auctioning airwaves coveted by leading U.S. telephone company AT&T and No. 2 Verizon for the wireless services powering their growth.
Wheeler, 67, reported income of at least $1,105,189 from sources including salary, advisory fees, and serving as a director of companies including Earthlink Inc. (ELNK) In a letter accompanying his disclosure form, Wheeler said he would resign from Atlanta-based Earthlink’s board and sell shares of the Internet-service provider if he wins Senate confirmation.
Wheeler also said he would sell his holdings in wireless provider Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and its partner Clearwire Corp. (CLWR) which are seeking merger permission before the agency. Media companies he listed for divestiture include cable providers Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) and Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC), along with broadcasters CBS Corp. (CBS) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS), which owns the ABC television network.
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