President-elect Donald Trump vowed before his election to block the $85 billion merger, which would combine the company's biggest pay-TV provider with one of the biggest media companies. Unlike other major transactions, she said, the AT&T-Time Warner deal is not expected to result in major staff reductions thanks to a lack of overlap in the core businesses and expertise. Analysts say that the agency most likely to oversee the process is the Justice Department, although the Federal Communications Commission is also likely to play a role.
AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson was spotted this morning heading into Trump Tower along with Robert Quinn, AT&T's senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs. Spicer, the Trump spokesman, declined to expand on Trump's current thinking.
"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", he said in a speech. Presidents typically don't weigh in directly on merger reviews.
Trump's pick for the attorney general role, Jeff Sessions, said in recent days that he did not discuss the planned merger in his meetings with Trump. Asked about Trump's comments and what effect it would have on CNN owner Time Warner and its stock, Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan told THR: "Zilch".
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Earlier this week, the president-elect took the feud a step further by refusing to answer questions from a CNN reporter and condemning the network as "Fake News".
The deal would give AT&T, which already owns DirecTV, further control over the United States media by adding, among other properties, media giant CNN.
Some investors have been wondering if Trump's dislike of CNN could affect the AT&T deal review. "But I don't know what part of the deal he's referring to".
AT&T is in the midst of seeking approval from the Justice Department for its acquisition of Time Warner.