Trump remains opposed to AT&T-Time Warner deal: report

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President-elect Donald Trump reportedly remains opposed to AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner, according to a report Thursday.

Bloomberg News reported that Trump believes the deal would concentrate too much media power, citing unnamed sources close to him. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, reportedly also opposes the deal.

Shares for both companies dropped on Thursday after the report.

The $85 billion deal would roll one of the nation’s biggest entertainment industry players, Time Warner, into telecom giant AT&T.

{mosads}During the campaign, Trump hammered the move shortly after the proposed deal was first announced.

“As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, 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,” Trump said in October.

Trump also said during the campaign that his administration would be interested in assessing and potentially breaking up Comcast’s already completed merger with NBC Universal.

A report at the time cited a person who said Trump was frustrated about the disclosed recording from an NBC Universal show, “Access Hollywood,” in which he spoke about grabbing and kissing women without their consent.

Trump has said little about the AT&T-Time Warner deal since the election. But several of Trump’s picks to work on his Federal Communications Commission transition team have supported similar transactions in the past, leading to speculation that Trump could shift his views.

Those FCC landing team members, Mark Jamison, Jeffrey Eisenach and Roslyn Layton, are scholars at the American Enterprise Institute — a free-market think tank.

The Justice Department will review the deal, but its unclear whether the FCC will as well. The FCC will only review the deal if the combined company holds on to many of Time Warner’s broadcast TV licenses. The companies have not made a decision on whether to keep those licenses.  

The deal has attracted criticism from both sides of the aisle.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes defended the deal in a congressional hearing last month.

The two contended the move would reduce inefficiencies, lowering costs for consumers and giving them a better user experience.

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