Trump's CNN tirade may affect Time Warner-AT&T merger

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". It's more than likely that beyond addressing the potential benefits of the acquisition to Trump's team, Quinn and Stephenson may seek to pursue this line of argument.

Executive agencies make their analyses on the rule of law and on analyzed facts rather than on political considerations, said Cantor, a partner in Constantine Cannon LLP's NY office.

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Similar to how Verizon needs Yahoo, Bremmer said, AT&T needs Time Warner's media and content assets to better compete against the likes of Google and Netflix and to stay relevant. Trump's animosity toward CNN is rumored to be the root of his objection to the merger.

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson met with US President-elect Donald Trump in NY, but told the NYT he didn't discuss the company's acquisition of Time Warner - which Trump has opposed. "I guarantee they talked about the merger, which AT&T needs to happen".

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Challenging the AT&T merger in court is a risk that DOJ might not be willing to take, Cantor said.

Discussion of Trump's possible objection to the deal renewed this week after the President-elect got into a shouting match with Time Warner-owned CNN at a press conference, later tweeting that CNN is "fake news" and on track to lose its credibility. In this case, the Justice Department would handle and though the agency is part of the executive branch, the White House typically stays away from the antitrust division's merger reviews and the appearance of trying to influence this type of legal matter is rare. The Department of Justice will review the transaction. "But the president-elect is someone who has been vocal on these issues".

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BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield shared the view that it's unlikely the merger could be halted.

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