Published: Sat, January 14, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

AT&T CEO And Donald Trump Meet To Discuss $85B Time Warner Merger

AT&T CEO And Donald Trump Meet To Discuss $85B Time Warner Merger

AT&T and Time Warner declined to comment.

Trump said during the campaign that he would block the deal, but since the election, Wall Street analysts have predicted that with the Republican majority in Washington, the deal would be looked upon more favorably.

AT&T indicated in a securities filing last week that the deal would not need approval from the Federal Communications Commission because "it is now anticipated that Time Warner will not need to transfer any of its FCC licenses to AT&T". 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.

When the deal between AT&T and Time Warner was announced, Trump called it "an example of the power structure I'm fighting", adding: "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".

Around 9.15 a.m. on Thursday, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson and Senior Executive Vice President Robert Quinn arrived and made their way upstairs.

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It's dim whether Trump's confinement to the game plan is influenced by his animosity toward CNN, controlled by Time Warner.

Also potentially worrisome for AT&T: Trump's choice for Attorney General, Sen. During a press conference Wednesday, his first since Election Day, Trump repeatedly shushed a CNN reporter who tried to ask a question and dismissed the network as "fake news".

The deal would give AT&T, which already owns DirecTV, further control over the USA media by adding, among other properties, media giant CNN.

Last week, AT&T indicated in an SEC filing that it didn't anticipate Time Warner would have to transfer any FCC licenses following the merger, a development that suggests the merger can skirt an FCC review.

The meeting was at Trump Tower in NY, according to the all-inclusive community, who asked that they not be identified in light of the way that the meeting isn't open. That would leave only the Justice Department review standing in the way and, according to Fritzsche, the DoJ's chances of blocking the deal in court would be slim to none.

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