One of the biggest mergers in American business history hit a snag recently. The $85.4 billion merger between Time Warner and AT&T may be in jeopardy due to demands by the Department of Justice. The DOJ wants AT&T to sell either DirecTV or Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting unit, of which CNN is a part. The DOJ is concerned that the merger, as constructed, would raise costs for rival entertainment distributors. AT&T has vowed they will not give up either DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting. If a deal could not be reached, the DOJ could sue to block the merger. This dispute raises the question: Should AT&T be forced to give up DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting to complete the Time Warner merger?
Those who feel AT&T should be forced to give something up to complete the deal feel that, if AT&T doesn’t, they will become a monopoly. They feel that AT&T would have essentially cornered the television market and could charge whatever they felt. They could drive their competitors out of business to the detriment of the consumer. There is a lot of dissatisfaction with DirecTV since AT&T took over and, if AT&T has put all the competition out of business, then customers would have nowhere to go. Finally, if AT&T were allowed to become a monopoly, they would have no reason to ever better their product because there would be no competition.
People who oppose the DOJ’s stance on the deal feel that this is the Trump administration trying to punish CNN. CNN is part of Turner Broadcasting and, if AT&T is forced to give up Turner, it could destabilize CNN’s future. CNN would have no control over who would buy it, and someone could come in and force them into taking a more appreciative tone of the president. People feel this has nothing to do with antitrust laws, but the president attacking another media outlet he does not like and, if he succeeded in forcing the sale of CNN, it would set a dangerous precedent.
Fox Business covering AT&T and Time Warner merger and DOJ demands:
Should AT&T be forced to give up an asset to complete the merger? Would the AT&T and Time Warner merger create a monopoly, and must be stopped? Or, is this an attack by the Trump administration on CNN?
Yes, AT&T should give up asset to complete Time Warner merger
People who support the DOJ’s stance on the deal say that AT&T is trying to become a monopoly and must be stopped. They feel that, if this deal goes through, they will be able to put all their competitors out of business.
Technically it's CNN or Direct TV. But yes, they would corner the market with no adversaries, and price however they want. Trump told of how this merger would not happen under his admin without the sale of part of their company. ?
— Pamela A Noble (@PamelaANoble2) November 9, 2017
so AT&T thinks they can just have monopoly. Thank you DOJ for stepping in. they must sell CNN and DirectTV before they can buy Time Warner.
— David Faidley (@DavidFaidleyJr) November 8, 2017
Both TIME-WARNER and COMCAST need to be BROKEN UP! They CONTROL 70% of ALL TV OUTLETS in the USA! They are ABUSING the POWER!
— Cecil Keeler (@CecilKeeler33) November 8, 2017
Yep because it's against monopoly laws
— Sherif Osman (@SherifOsmanClub) November 8, 2017
No, AT&T should not give up asset to complete Time Warner merger
Those who don’t agree with the DOJ’s stance on the deal say that this is a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to hurt CNN. They feel that the DOJ would have no problem with this deal if it didn’t involve CNN.
Just as Trump promised during the campaign. He's using the government to punish CNN for not supporting him.
— Nicholas Lefevre (@nlefevre) November 8, 2017
This isn't about anti trust legislation, it's about Trump and Sessions punishing a free press.
— My Sweet Baboo (@babsben) November 8, 2017
Trump's Justice Department, in an act of spite….
— Ocular Nervosa (@ocularnervosa) November 8, 2017
This is so wrong. Trump shouldn’t be punishing media organizations who criticize him.
— Cam (@usefortweets) November 8, 2017
Do you think AT&T should be forced to give up either DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting to complete the Time Warner merger?