The Federal Communications Commission is less likely to vote to approve BellSouth Corp.’s $80 billion merger with AT&T Inc. until next year; the agency did not include the transaction for consideration at its Dec. 20 scheduled meeting.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in a meeting with reporters Thursday, declined to comment on when the agency might vote on the transaction. Martin’s comments come after FCC General Counsel Sam Feder has approved Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell, who has recused himself, to vote on the deal.

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