Franken: Merger will likely harm consumers

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Monday warned the new AT&T merger with DirecTV would likely hurt consumers.

“This is going exactly in the wrong direction,” Franken said on CNN’s “New Day.” “The fewer players there are in this space, I believe it’s worse for consumers. My constituents in Minnesota will be paying more for cable.”

Franken has also opposed the Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable announced in February.

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During congressional hearings about that deal, Franken dismissed the companies' arguments that the deal would create more competition.

“No, they’re just buying each other,” Franken said Monday. “This is a bad trend.” 

AT&T announced Sunday that it’s buying DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Comcast bought Time Warner Cable for $45 billion.

Franken on Monday rejected the notion that these mergers are inevitable but also suggested these decisions are ultimately not under Congress’s jurisdiction.

“As a senator, we can have hearings, and we did that on Comcast-Time Warner, but it’s ultimately up to the FCC and Department of Justice.”