May 31, 2017

Time Warner CEO doesn't see Trump affecting AT&T deal

AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says he doesn't know the exact timing of a decision by the DOJ about whether his company will be able to merge with telecom giant AT&T, but he doesn't think President Trump will be a "big factor" in the decision. "We'll see if this is right (but), we don't think merger or competitive analysis is particularly political," Bewkes said at the Code Conference in LA Wednesday. "The DOJ has a clear set of precedents ...I don't think who's occupying the White House really changes it."

Why it matters: Bewkes has been cautious about making predictions around the merger, although he is hopeful it will go through. His comments about the Trump Administration not influencing the decision are notable, however, because Trump's pick to lead anti-trust at the DOJ, Makan Delrahim, has an outwardly conservative view towards mergers and has said in the past that he doesn't see any problems with the merger. The Obama Administration, comparatively, was much more strict.

On net neutrality: On net neutrality, Bewkes almost sounded like he already worked for AT&T, suggesting rules should be the same for broadband carriers as they are for more lightly-regulated Internet companies like Google and Facebook. "I just think it should be even," he said. "There's no reason they should have more lax standards."

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  3. Business latest: Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production — The wartime mobilization effort to produce ventilators and medical supplies got started too late.
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Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production

Photo: Axios Events

Businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said during an Axios virtual event Friday that 3M is "arrogant" for not speaking up about respirator production in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

What he said: Cuban criticized the company for "making more globally than domestically," echoing a similar line from President Trump now that the U.S. is the epicenter of the pandemic. "You can't ghost the American people," he told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei from Dallas.

Coronavirus puts ambitious plans for self-driving cars on the shelf

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In two weeks, the coronavirus has brought the entire U.S. auto industry to a screeching halt. When it finally sputters back to life, many companies may be forced to change, defer — or even abandon — their ambitious plans for self-driving vehicles.

The big picture: Auto factories are shut down across North America to prevent the spread of the virus among workers, while stay-at-home orders have kept car shoppers away from showrooms. The resulting financial shock means carmakers have shifted their focus to survival, not investing in expensive technologies with no clear payoff.