- Reuters / Carlo Allegri
- President Donald Trump told White House reporters on Tuesday that AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner is “not good for the country.”
- The comments echo those made by Trump on the campaign trail in October 2016.
- Trump has been a staunch opponent of the deal for over a year, and has repeatedly voiced his displeasure with CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.
President Donald Trump spoke to reporters on the White House lawn on Tuesday afternoon, saying, “Personally, I always felt that was a deal that’s not good for the country. He also said, “I’m not going to get involved – it’s litigation.”
His comments come one day after the US Department of Justice sued to block AT&T’s $84.5 billion takeover of Time Warner.
The statements echo comments Trump made on the campaign trail back in October 2016, when he said a successful deal would result in “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” and also said “deals like this destroy democracy.”
Trump’s Justice Department – most notably Makan Delrahim, the antitrust chief he nominated – would seem to agree. In a complaint filed on Monday, the regulatory body focused on what it sees as potentially anti-competitive behavior that could result from a completed deal. AT&T already owns DirecTV, which is mentioned throughout the complaint as a particular cause for concern.
The news of the antitrust lawsuit followed recent reports that the Justice Department demanded AT&T and Time Warner sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, to receive approval for the deal. The entire ordeal comes amid Trump’s repeated insistence that CNN is “fake news.”
Regulatory concerns about the merger have ramped up since Delrahim started in his new role. After assuming duties in September, he pushed for the divestiture of either Turner Broadcasting or DirecTV during negotiations, according to a Bloomberg report.
Trump’s concerns echo those expressed by many critics of the deal who think that too much consolidation in the media and telecom industries is ultimately bad for both. Still, antitrust experts have said that on a strictly legal basis, fighting the deal might be difficult for the DOJ.
Whether the deal can proceed will be up to a federal judge. It’s also possible the two sides will negotiate a settlement that would allow it to continue.
AT&T’s stock slid 0.9% for Tuesday’s session, whileTime Warner shares were little changed.
- Markets Insider