DOJ sues to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner; is this Trump's payback for his CNN vendetta?

DOJ sues to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner; is this Trump's payback for his CNN vendetta?
In October of last year, AT&T announced an $85.4 billion bid to purchase Time Warner. At the time, Donald Trump was the GOP candidate for the presidency, and he vowed to block the transaction if he was to become president. "It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," Trump said at the time. The day after the election, we revisited the matter and wondered whether President Trump would follow though on his pledge. Trump's personal animosity toward Time Warner's CNN has recently led to reports that his administration would allow the deal to go through only if AT&T divests the 24-hour all news cable channel.

Today, though, the Trump administration dropped the hammer on the transaction. The Justice Department filed a suit in Washington D.C. Federal Court to block the deal, claiming that it violates anti-trust law because AT&T could "use its control of Time Warner's popular programming as a weapon to harm competition." Expecting the DOJ to file this suit, AT&T's legal team quickly sprung into action on Monday, disputing the claim. AT&T's general counsel David McAtee II, noted that such 'vertical mergers' are usually approved by the government because they "benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market."

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson not only attacked the DOJ for its decision to file the suit, he also wondered whether the "abrupt change in the application of antitrust law here," had to do with President Trump's personal "Fake News" attacks on CNN. While the executive said that AT&T will try to negotiate with the Justice Department, any demand that the telecommunications giant divest CNN is "a non starter."


In May 2014, under the Obama Administration, AT&T bought DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Verizon, meanwhile, had two vertical acquisitions of its own approved. Back in 2015 it bought AOL for $4.4 billion. That was followed the next year with Big Red's $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo!. And that is the heart of AT&T's complaint. The only change that has happened since those deals were made has been the installation of a new administration. And while traditionally the Republican party has been in favor of big business, the current president has a history of making decisions based on personal reasons that have nothing to do with the legality of the issue being decided. Of course, the DOJ is the regulatory agency that is suing here, but it wouldn't be surprising if a well placed call from the White House led to this decision to block the acquisition. After all, we know that President Trump demands loyalty from those working in his administration.

source: AntitrustComplaint via CNN

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27 Comments

3. nepalisherpa

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

I do agree that AT&T should not be able to buy Timewarner.

6. Peacetoall unregistered

merger of AT&T and timewarner would be not beneficial for consumer as it would create a monopoly thus far less competition and exploitation of consumer.

8. AxelFoley unregistered

"but it wouldn't be surprising if a well placed call from the White House led to this decision to block the acquisition" One small correction Alan, no well-placed calls were required. His guidance to use the DOJ as a tool was issued publicly. “As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said. http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/donald-trump-vows-to-block-us90b-merger-between-att-and-time-warner/news-story/6cd7f3a5a920c9f34e3aff794e2b62ab

16. Furbal unregistered

How is preventing what would basically turn into a monopoly in hundreds of markets a bad thing?

17. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Context matters: Literally the only reason behind this lawsuit is his vendetta against CNN. He doesn't give a s**t if they merge, just that CNN is involved.

18. Furbal unregistered

I wouldn't care if it was because he thinks the att logo looks like a death star. A merger of them is anti consumer and should be blocked.

19. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That doesn't make an act praiseworthy. He's essentially only doing this to meet his own needs, not out of consumer interests.

21. audibot

Posts: 600; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

you snowflakes cant go a day without crying the sky is fallen every time trump tweets, grow the f up it would be really bad if they got them, also the deal was they could merge but would have to sell off cnn and 1 or 2 others but att wants warner for cnn's base and a few other things called insider money

22. Peacetoall unregistered

literally this

26. Melee

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 30, 2017

GTFO of Obama blocked a merger because it involved Fox News you’d be praising him. Which is what makes people like you such snowflakes

25. Melee

Posts: 29; Member since: Apr 30, 2017

Trump can be quoted way back to October of 16 on the campaign trail saying he wouldn’t approve this merger. That was before CNN turned completely into the ant trump network. Trump knows people will lose jobs, customers will lose options and neither of those things is good for America

24. LiLLicky

Posts: 88; Member since: Oct 27, 2017

Click bait.

27. Jrod99

Posts: 714; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

What happen to the first 2 comments?

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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