Trump Calls AT&T-Time Warner Deal 'Not Good for the Country'

By Louise Radnofsky and Drew FitzGerald Features Dow Jones Newswires

President Donald Trump said AT&T Inc.'s takeover of Time Warner Inc. wouldn't be good for the country, weighing in on the $85 billion transaction the day after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block it.

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As he prepared to depart the White House, the president said in response to a shouted question from a reporter that he shouldn't comment on the litigation. Then he added: "Personally, I've always felt that that was a deal that's not good for the country. I think your pricing is going to go up."

It was the first time Mr. Trump has publicly discussed the transaction since he has been in office, although Mr. Trump vowed to block the transaction when he was campaigning for the White House, saying it concentrated too much power.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging that the combination of AT&T's giant wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner's popular cable programming would give the merged firm the power to hinder competitors and innovation.

AT&T criticized the government's arguments as unreasonable and inconsistent with past practice. On Monday, CEO Randall Stephenson called Mr. Trump's repeated criticisms of Time Warner's CNN the "elephant in the room" in the Justice Department's case, raising questions about political influence. The department has said the White House didn't influence its decision to sue.

Write to Louise Radnofsky at louise.radnofsky@wsj.com and Drew FitzGerald at andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 21, 2017 17:28 ET (22:28 GMT)