Trump's reasons for trying to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner were all personal

Trump's reasons for trying to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner were all personal
Something strange was going on behind the scenes after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled last June that AT&T could close on its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner. The Justice Department decided not to appeal the deal's approval and the transaction closed the next week. Judge Leon warned the DOJ not to appeal his decision. Yet, three weeks later, the Justice Department decided to appeal the ruling after all.

So what happened? According to a new report in the New Yorker (via Ars Technica), President Donald Trump made it clear that he didn't want the transaction to close. Trump wanted to get personally involved with the Justice Department's review so that he could block the deal. This wasn't due to any economic theory, or worries about competition. Trump was upset because Time Warner owns CNN, and the president did not like the way the cable news station covered his presidency. The magazine says that Trump told his staff that he wanted the deal blocked, but his staff refused to get involved.


Before the election, candidate Trump vowed to block the deal


Besides the inclusion of CNN in the transaction, there was another reason why Trump was against the deal. Back in 2014, 21st Century Fox tried to purchase Time Warner, but failed to do so. Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch, who has a friendly relationship with the president, didn't want AT&T to purchase the assets that he had wanted to buy a few years ago and asked AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson a couple of times if he would sell CNN to him.

When the deal was first announced in October 2016, then candidate Trump said, ", "It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." He vowed to block the transaction if he won the election. The deal brought AT&T a treasure trove of content including the Warner Brothers movie studio, which includes the wildly successful Harry Potter and Batman franchises and the Warner Brothers cartoons. It also gave AT&T cable properties CNN, HBO, TBS and TNT, along with 10% of streaming video service Hulu.

The day after AT&T closed on its purchase of Time Warner, the company announced plans for a new app called Watch TV that costs $15 a month after a seven day free trial. It offers live streaming from over 35 channels, and a ton of on-demand content. Much of the programming comes from the cable properties that AT&T acquired from Time Warner. The app is available for both iOS and Android users.

Luckily for AT&T (and arguably its subscribers), there were well-placed Trump staffers who realized that the president's dislike of CNN's coverage and his loyalty to conservative billionaires like Murdoch were not legitimate reasons to block the deal from closing.

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24 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17093; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Petulant, ignorant little child.

23. TheOracle1

Posts: 1913; Member since: May 04, 2015

Everyone knew what Twittler was trying to do. As a native New Yorker it's difficult for outsiders to understand how much Twittler Tump is universally despised in his hometown. He has a huge inferiority complex because he has always been viewed as a Bridge and Tunnel (New Yorkers will understand that term) tacky social climber. He views the Presidency as a platform for bullying and settling old scores. The moron only managed about 16% of the vote in the five boroughs, 21% in his native Queens and around 12% in his home district of Manhattan. Maybe we know something his fellow MAGA morons don't.

2. GoTstan

Posts: 386; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

Who cares. This is a bad merger. Just like Disney and fox. Did you hear what at&t's plans are with hbo? Hbo ceo resigned bc of it. The quality that we've come to enjoy from hbo will be no longer. The want to turn it into netflix. Quantity over quality is their vision

3. p51d007

Posts: 697; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

"Judge Leon warned the DOJ not to appeal his decision" Tell the judge to STUFF IT! He can't tell a petitioner to NOT appeal.

13. middlehead

Posts: 434; Member since: May 12, 2014

There's not enough context in that quote to get so uppity about it. If it was just "DON'T DO THAT, I DON'T LIKE IT," yeah, he'd be an idiot. But if he was just warning them not to waste their time because he knows the appellate court's leanings, that's perfectly reasonable.

6. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

It's a really f**ked up country the one in which people like trump remain presidents despite what they have done...

7. lyndon420

Posts: 6451; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Like Bush and his 9/11 involvement?

9. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

No, like Trump and Time Warner (or CNN).

10. lyndon420

Posts: 6451; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Mmk lol.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Trump is nothing more than a self centered, immature, P grabbing control freak, with bad hair and bad skin.

12. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

In democratic countries, the politicians are an expression of the average citizen: the dumbest the politicians, the dumbest the people (don't take it personal, because the politicians in my country are even dumber than Trump and I know that smart people are outnumbered everywhere; it's just a fact).

15. lyndon420

Posts: 6451; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

We'll trade you Trudeau for Trump any day...just saying.

18. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I’d imagine the majority of Canadians would disagree with you there, Lyndon.

20. lyndon420

Posts: 6451; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Curious as to why you say that lol. But actually no you're wrong sorry...the majority of Canadians would agree with me. The closest thing we can get to a Trump alternative in the next election would be Maxime Bernier. Good god I hope he wins!!!

24. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

So you WANT to be a laughing stock? Are you a masochist?

25. lyndon420

Posts: 6451; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

What are you talking about? We already are a laughing stock lol. If you think Trudeau is a good fit for the US (which he probably is - he's a feminist, left wing idiot who has killed off so many good jobs, and loves his open border policy)...you can have him.

19. Leo_MC

Posts: 6389; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Trudeau is eons ahead of Trump when it comes to politics. Of course, I'm talking about the political speech, because I don't live in either of the countries.

21. lyndon420

Posts: 6451; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Eons ahead? Sure his dad was Prime Minister a while back, but that doesn't mean his son (who's a self proclaimed feminist left wing douchebag and drama teacher that can cry/whimper at will) is capable of running my country properly. Trudeau is a complete and total embarrassment for Canada...you think Trump is an embarrassment for the USA - multiply that by 1000+% and you get Trudeau.

16. Vega007

Posts: 57; Member since: May 18, 2017

Fake news.

17. rossy

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 23, 2013

What a load of bull! Tell #1 annonimous source. According to my well-placed annonimous source this web site is run by phycopaths. Tell#2 CNN gave a ton of PR time to Trump when he was a candidate. That air time was worth millions. So I am now told to believe that Trump was against ATT/TW merger before election because he hated CNN then. Phonearena stick to what you know and leave politics yo others. I don't read your publication to learn political gossip.

22. TheOracle1

Posts: 1913; Member since: May 04, 2015

Maybe you should read a dictionary instead so you can learn how to spell.

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