Over the weekend, AT&T’s monster $85.4 billion deal to acquire Time Warner made headlines. This deal will face the toughest regulatory inspection in recent U.S. history of mergers and acquisitions. President of non-partisan government watchdog Public Citizen, Robert Weissman urged regulators to “slam down the phone in disgust” when they get AT&T’s phone call seeking approval of the merger.
“It aims to concentrate far too much market, communications and political power in one corporation, threatening to impede the free flow of information, undermine the integrity of the Internet, raise consumer prices and further corrupt our politics,” said Weissman. “This is not a proposal that can be fixed with tweaks, divestitures or conduct agreements. Antitrust authorities should reject this merger proposal out of hand.”
According to USAToday, Laura MacCleery, vice president of policy and mobilization for nonprofit organization Consumer Reports, said the deal represents a red flag because it seems similar to cable TV and communications giant Comcast’s 2011 takeover of NBC Universal. That transaction also drew criticism from consumer advocates.
“We have carefully examined consolidation in the cable and video content industries to ensure that it does not harm consumers,” they said in a written statement. “An acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T would potentially raise significant antitrust issues, which the subcommittee would carefully examine.”
Bernie Sanders tweeted, “The administration should kill the Time Warner-AT&T merger. This deal would mean higher prices and fewer choices for the American people.”