Jul 24, 2017

AT&T talking merger conditions with government

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and President Donald Trump earlier this year. (Evan Vucci / AP)

Bloomberg reports that AT&T and Time Warner are in conversations with the federal government about conditions that could be applied to their proposed merger. AT&T declined to comment on the story — which described the discussions as preliminary — and the Justice Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

What to watch:

  • Questions about how AT&T would offer and market premium cable channels that compete with the Time Warner-owned HBO
  • Issues over how streaming services that compete with Time Warner products are treated by AT&T's network

The X factor: Political pressure. President Trump slammed the merger on the campaign trail, and Democrats expressed concerns about the transaction in their Better Deal agenda released today. But there have not been signs that the regulators vetting the deal are planning to axe it entirely.

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