What’s Up With the Time Warner, AT&T Thing?

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Trump Maladministration

AT&T has been planning to buy Time Warner for a while. The telecommunications giant would then also own CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers, and a bunch of other stuff with lots of content. One can see the potential.

The Justice Department appears to be trying to block the sale. There probably are good reasons to be leery of this much money and assets all glomming together into one global powerhouse. But there’s a strong appearance that the only reason Trump’s Justice Department is stepping in is that Trump wants to punish CNN.

There are all kinds of conflicting reports out today saying that either the Justice Department has made the sale of CNN a condition of the deal, or that AT&T offered to sell CNN, then said it wouldn’t. Whatever it is, the sticking point seems to be centered on CNN.

Reuters:

Reports that the Justice Department is pushing for significant asset sales and conflicting reports of its discussions with AT&T cast new doubt on the deal on Wednesday. Shares of Time Warner closed down 6.5 percent at $88.50.

The dispute is the latest twist in a deal which took on broader political significance immediately after its inception in October 2016. U.S. President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of CNN, attacked the deal on the campaign trail last year, vowing that as president his Justice Department would block it. He has not commented on the transaction since taking office in January. …

… The discussion of a potential sale of CNN has politicized the situation. Trump has repeatedly tangled with CNN, calling the network’s coverage “fake news.”

Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said on Wednesday he opposed the mega-merger but was also worried about political implications of any divestiture of CNN.

“I am deeply concerned with the notion that the Justice Department may be pressuring the companies to consider spinning off CNN’s parent company Turner Broadcasting as a path forward toward approval of the acquisition, given the president’s repeated public complaints about CNN’s coverage of him,” Franken said. “Any indication that this administration is using its power to weaken media organizations it doesn’t like would be a profoundly disturbing development.”

What makes this all especially suspicious is that Trump’s guy to head the antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, said in an interview last year that the AT&T/Time Warner sale did not constitute an antitrust problem.  But now, he has changed his mind. One suspects Trump is behind this.

And then there’s this:

AT&T also said it would invest an additional $1 billion in the United States next year if Trump signed into law the provisions in the current House of Representatives tax bill.

“By immediately lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, this bill will stimulate investment, job creation and economic growth in the United States,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chief executive.

The lot of them can drop off the planet, IMO.

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1 Comment

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 9, 2017 @9:19 pm

    Was against this from Day 1.

    I remain so today.

    Having worked for Time-Warner, I know how unethical and greedy that company is.

    And AT&T is no better.

    We need to be breaking-up monopolies, not letting them grow larger.

    So, if Donaldski Trumpovich's hatred of CNN is what stops this merger, then at least I can thank this demented, bigoted, sociopathic, narcissistic orange slug for at least one thing!

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