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AT&T Says Time Warner Deal Not Discussed In Trump Meeting – Update

Deadline logo Deadline 1/12/2017 David Lieberman
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UPDATE, 11:48 AM: AT&T’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner didn’t come up in CEO Randall Stephenson’s meeting with Donald Trump this morning the telco says in its first statement about the session.

They had “a very good meeting…covering a wide-range of topics,” AT&T says. But the mega-merger “was not a topic of discussion.”

What was? AT&T says that “as the country’s leading investor of capital for each of the last five years, the conversation focused on how AT&T can work with the Trump administration to increase investment in the U.S., stimulate job creation in America, and make American companies more competitive globally.”

AT&T shares are up more than 1% on a flat-to-down day for the overall market. Time Warner is up less than 1%.

PREVIOUS: AT&T’s lobbying effort for its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner reaches  Donald Trump this morning: He’s meeting with the telco’s CEO Randall Stephenson.

The company chief was seen entering Trump Tower in Manhattan this morning, and Bloomberg says the meeting is to discuss the deal which the president-elect has opposed.

Presidents typically leave decisions to approve or reject business mergers to antitrust officials (in this case at the Justice Department) and — when broadcast licenses or major communications media are involved — the FCC.

But the President-elect has publicly attacked the AT&T-Time Warner union. He tweeted in October that “It’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

Yesterday, at a news conference, Trump refused to take a question from Time Warner’s CNN, which had broken the story about intelligence agencies telling him and others that the Russian government might have compromising information about him.

This morning the President-elect tweeted: “@CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!”

Also potentially worrisome for AT&T: Trump’s choice for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, said in a confirmation hearing this week that he feels “no hesitation to say certain mergers should not occur.”

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