Time Warner Seeks Shareholder Approval of AT&T Meld
- Author: Ronnie Bowen Jan 09, 2017,
Jan 09, 2017, 0:43
AT&T stock dipped around two percent Friday, reflecting the market's uncertainty about the carrier's fate following reports President-elect Donald Trump remains opposed to its proposed deal to acquire Time Warner.
AT&T, which became the nation's largest pay-TV provider when it acquired DirecTV a year ago, is gunning for Time Warner's massive library of content and intellectual property, which it hopes to distribute and sell advertising against.
Time Warner shares dropped as much as 3.8 percent Thursday after Bloomberg's report on Trump's thinking about the transaction.
AT&T says it is in a different business than Time Warner and that the Justice Department has never denied a transaction that joins companies from different industries on antitrust grounds.
On the campaign trail, Mr Trump promised to block the merger altogether, saying that media deals of its size "destroy democracy".
Time Warner's break-up fee is $1.75 billion, while AT&T's is $500 million.
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An FCC ruling, on the other hand, would be more immutable.
Whatever happens at the FCC, the AT&T/Time Warner merger will be reviewed by the Department of Justice.
"Time Warner has conducted a review of all licenses that it holds that are granted by the FCC", AT&T wrote.
Trump's opinion is unlikely to lead to the merger being blocked unless the president chooses to get heavily involved in the approval process, said Barry Diller, a media veteran who's now chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp.
Trump's opposition to the AT&T-Time Warner deal stems partly from his frustration with CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, one of the people said.
Trump is also frustrated with Comcast Corp., which in 2011 bought NBCUniversal in a similar deal that was cleared with conditions.
By not involving the FCC licenses in the deal, it eliminates the need for it to review the transactions.