What was once considered “not a major anti-trust issue”, it seems has become one. The U.S. Department of Justice has decided to push back at the potential merger of AT&T and Time Warner. The merger, which was announced back in 2016, was expected to be done by year’s end. Unfortunately, the deal may not be done until 2018.
Reuters is reporting that the DOJ is requiring AT&T to sell off the Turner Broadcasting, which is home to CNN, or DirecTV to satisfy any antitrust concerns. According to the report, “AT&T is prepared to fight any divestitures required to win regulatory approval of the $85.4 billion deal, according to sources familiar with the matter.”
Of course, speculation is running rampant if this is moved by President Donald Trump’s longterm goal of crushing the deal. He has never been a fan of the deal, which he even stated on the campaign trail. However, he hasn’t been able to do this but his pick for the Justice Department may have some other ideas.
The report notes that Makan Delrahim is President Trump’s pick for the Justice Department. Back in 2016, he stated that the merger would get much attention due to its size but was not “a major antitrust issue.”
Regardless of the size and complexity, it would be an antitrust issue. A consolidation of entertainment, news, and media in one company. Back in the early nineties, Microsoft was sued for antitrust violations with their OS on desktops. To be completely honest, how is that bigger than turning two media companies into one powerful conglomerate?