AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson met with US President-elect Donald Trump yesterday, although the operator was quick to confirm a proposed merger with Time Warner was not discussed.
In a statement emailed to Mobile World Live, AT&T said: “Mr Stephenson had a very good meeting with President-elect Trump earlier today covering a wide-range of topics. AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner was not a topic of discussion.”
The company added the conversation instead focused on economic matters including job creation and stimulating investment in the US.
Trump was a strong critic of AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid to acquire Time Warner while on the campaign trail. In an October speech he said the merger would not be approved under his administration on grounds it would create “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few”.
Following his election and subsequent appointment of two antitrust officials with a track record of approving takeovers, AT&T reiterated its belief the deal would go through.
However, Trump remains a stark critic of Time Warner-owned news network CNN. Earlier this week the President-elect refused to answer a question from one of the network’s reporters during a press conference, and later said CNN was “in total meltdown” in a Tweet published around the time of his meeting with AT&T.
AT&T’s proposed Time Warner purchase will require the green light from the US Justice Department. While the FCC was initially expected to also have a say, Reuters this week reported AT&T and Time Warner hope to circumvent the Commission’s approval process because the broadcaster does not plan to transfer any FCC licences to AT&T as part of the deal.
US authorities are expected to begin investigating the deal in the coming weeks.