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US: AT&T remains confident in merger under Trump

 |  November 20, 2016

AT&T continues to believe that its $100 billion acquisition of Time Warner will be approved under a Trump Presidency. The Wall Street Journal notes that AT&T, which spends $16 million annually on lobbying, had expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, and has had to shift its tactical approach to selling the mega-merger. But AT&T consultants tell the Journal that the company believes Trump’s claim he would block the merger was a “throwaway comment” the incoming President won’t actually adhere to.

“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 administrationbecause it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said in a speech last October.

But Trump took this rhetoric even further, claiming his administration might also dismantle Comcast’s already finished acquisition of NBC Universal.

“Comcast’s purchase of NBC concentrated far too much power in one massive entity that is trying to tell the voters what to think and what to do,” Trump said. “Deals like this destroy democracy and we’ll look at breaking that deal up and other deals like that. That should never, ever have been approved in the first place, they’re trying to poison the mind of the American voter.”

But AT&T insiders tell the Journal they believe Trump’s comments were primarily just empty rhetoric aimed at ridiculing CNN, which Trump believes portrayed him negatively in the lead up to the election. AT&T executives continue to insist they believe the merger will be approved despite these comments.

“We support president-elect Trump’s agenda of economic growth, investment in infrastructure and rational regulation,” Mr. Stephenson said Wednesday in a written statement. “We look forward to presenting how our Time Warner transaction supports that agenda for the benefit of consumers.”

Full content: DSL Reports

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