AT&T chief executive,
Trump meet amid planned Time Warner merger
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[January 13, 2017]
By Laila Kearney and David Shepardson
YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson on Thursday
met in New York with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, an opponent of
the company's acquisition of Time Warner Inc.
A spokeswoman for Trump confirmed the meeting after Stephenson was seen
entering Trump Tower. Stephenson, who was accompanied by Robert Quinn,
AT&Tís senior executive vice president for external and legislative
affairs, would not answer questions from reporters.
AT&T said later on Thursday that the company's $85.4 billion deal for
Time Warner was not discussed.
"The conversation focused on how AT&T can work with the Trump
administration to increase investment in the U.S., stimulate job
creation in America, and make American companies more competitive
globally," AT&T said in a statement.
During his campaign for the White House, Trump said AT&T's proposal to
buy Time Warner, owner of CNN and the Warner Bros movie studio, was an
example of a "power structure" that was rigged against him and voters.
"It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," said
Trump, who has repeatedly accused the media of being biased against him
and his campaign.
Since the election, Trump has not commented publicly on the AT&T-Time
Warner deal, but he has been critical of CNN. He sparred with a CNN
reporter on Wednesday during a televised news conference.
A person briefed on the matter said AT&T requested the meeting with
Trump late last week.
[to top of second column]
Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Randall Stephenson testifies before
the Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee during a
hearing on the proposed deal between AT&T and Time Warner in
Washington, U.S., December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
As Thursday's meeting was about to get under way, Trump tweeted: "@CNN
is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are
tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone."
Representatives from AT&T and Time Warner declined to comment on Trump's
A Trump transition official told Reuters earlier this month that the
president-elect still opposed the deal, which would require antitrust
approval by the U.S. Department of Justice.
It could also face a review by the Federal Communications Commission,
although the companies are considering ways to structure the deal to
Time Warner shareholders will meet on Feb. 15 to decide whether to
approve the merger.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney, David Shepardson, Diane Bartz and Anjali
Athavaley; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Steve Orlofsky)
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