Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai is paying close attention to the proposed $85 billion merger between AT&T (NYSE:T) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX). During an interview on the FOX Business Network, he said the deal must benefit consumers.
“We want to make sure that there's a competitive marketplace,” Pai said. “Any transaction that is presented to me, I will apply the test that the FCC has long applied. Is the consummation of this deal in the public interests? And will consumers be better off?”
Time Warner already owns Warner Bros. and CNN, but if the deal is approved, they would also retain the rights to HBO, TBS and TNT.
Although Time Warner secured shareholder approval for the potential merger on Wednesday, the deal still needs the blessing of U.S. regulators. Pai warned the FCC would step in if the matchup stands to stifle competition.
“If there is an anti-competitive harm that is shown to me based on the evidence, then we'll take the appropriate action,” he said.
President Trump, who expressed concern over the merger while on the campaign trail, met with AT&T’s Chief Executive Officer Randal Stephenson at Trump Tower in early January to discuss job creation and government regulations, according to the White House.