Sanders urges government to kill AT&T-Time Warner merger

Markets Associated Press

The AT&T logo is positioned above one of its retail stores, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, in New York. AT&T plans to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The AT&T logo is positioned above one of its retail stores, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, in New York. AT&T plans to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (The Associated Press)

Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling on the government to block a proposed $85 billion merger of communications giants AT&T and Time Warner.

Continue Reading Below

The Vermont independent and former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination warned in a Wednesday letter to President Barack Obama's Justice Department that the merger would lead to less "competition and diversity of content" and would "provide consumers less while charging them more."

There is bipartisan opposition to the proposed acquisition by broadband and wireless provider AT&T of Time Warner, which owns CNN, HBO and Warner Bros.

"When one giant company owns both the content and the means of distribution, there is a clear disincentive to provide additional choices to consumers," Sanders said.

Sanders warned that the proposed deal could lead to a wave of mergers in an already concentrated media industry.

"The media and telecommunications landscape is changing. It is important that public policy concerns guide these changes, so that we may preserve our democratic discourse and open competitive markets for speech and commerce," Sanders wrote.

Continue Reading Below

Donald Trump has swung against the merger but Hillary Clinton has been more cautious.

A Clinton spokesman said Sunday that there are "a number of questions and concerns" about the merger "but there's still a lot of information that needs to come out before any conclusions should be reached."