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AT&T Intensifies Battle for Time Warner by Targeting Trump’s Role - http://earlyretireonline.com | how to earn money fast

February 15, 2018 12:34 am
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U.S. President Donald Trump

AT&T Inc. is pursuing an unprecedented strategy of injecting politics into the fight to salvage its planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. by threatening to call the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division to testify about his decision to sue to block the merger.

AT&T believes Trump and the head of the division, who previously worked at the White House and was appointed by Trump, discussed the transaction before the government sued to block the deal in November, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss the information publicly.

The company is seeking communications between the department and the White House about the merger, and wants to put the head of the division, Makan Delrahim, on its witness list, another person said.

The move carries potential risks and rewards. Evidence that Trump, a relentless critic of Time Warner’s CNN and an opponent of the merger, pushed the Justice Department to sue would undermine the government’s credibility. But Delrahim may welcome the chance to defend the case as a legitimate enforcement action that was filed without political influence.

Trump’s Criticism

Delrahim’s case is based on a strong complaint that lays out how the combination will harm consumers, even though the lawsuit may seem politically motivated given Trump’s criticism of CNN, said Michael Carrier, a law professor at Rutgers University who specializes in antitrust.

“I just can’t see a smoking gun where he’d say, ‘Let’s bring this case, Mr. President, because we want to stick it to CNN,’” Carrier said. “I see this as a way of kicking up some dirt.”

If approved, the merger would reshape the media landscape by uniting a telecom giant with the owner of CNN, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS and HBO. AT&T, the owner of DirecTV, is the largest pay-TV distributor, as well as a powerhouse in mobile phones and landlines. The Justice Department has argued that letting AT&T own the films and TV shows that flow down its pipes would harm consumers and competitors.

Denying Involvement

 
 

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