Tim Kaine joins Donald Trump calls against media merger, AT&T Inc’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.

October 23, 2016 9:30 pm

GOP candidate (R) and the running mate of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton Virginia Senator

The running mate of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has joined calls by GOP candidate Donald Trump as well as other lawmakers against AT&T Inc’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.
“I’m pro-competition,” Virginia Senator Tim Kaine told NBC on Sunday. “Less concentration, I think, is generally helpful especially in the media.”
The senator said he still needed to review the details of the deal, asserting however, that there should be efforts to “get to the bottom” of questions on whether the merger would harm competition.
Kaine’s remarks echoed the ones by Trump, saying earlier that the deal is “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” and vowing to block it if he wins the bid for the White House.
The merger, which could potentially violate antitrust laws, can be blocked by the US Justice Department alone, and not the president.
Arguing that such deals were examples of a media power structure rigged against him as well as American voters, Trump said during a Saturday campaign speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that “When a simple phone call placed with the biggest newspapers or television networks gets them wall-to-wall coverage with virtually no fact-checking whatsoever, here is why this is relevant to you.”

Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner Inc. Center in New York on October 23, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

If approved, the deal, marking the biggest one in the world this year, will give the American multinational telecommunications conglomerate power over CNN, HBO, and Warner Bros.
Meanwhile, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson speculated that the deal would be approved, saying on Saturday that there is “no competitive harm that is being rendered by putting these two companies together, so any concerns by the regulators, we believe, will be adequately addressed by conditions.”
Top Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the US Senate subcommittee on antitrust have vowed to pursue the matter.
“We have carefully examined consolidation in the cable and video content industries to ensure that it does not harm consumers,” said Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). “An acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T would potentially raise significant antitrust issues, which the subcommittee would carefully examine.”
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