Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday, stumping for the proposed $85.4 billion merger between the two companies.
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During the hearing, Bewkes told lawmakers that the merger with AT&T would allow Time Warner to deliver “great consumer experiences.”
However, while campaigning for president, Donald Trump said his administration would not approve the deal, saying it would be “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell joined the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast to Coast to weigh in.
“It is a vertical merger. You’re not buying a competitor, and there are at least two giants in the cable space that have vertical integration. So Comcast with its purchase of NBC Universal… as well as Charter—Charter with its affiliation with Liberty and John Malone and all the content that they own.”
McDowell said there is a demand from consumers to have a “marriage between connectivity, or distribution, and content,” adding:
“If you’re going to have a nationwide counterbalance to large cable companies that are vertically integrated, this makes a lot of sense. So I think this is more pro-competition than anti-competition. Merely the big getting bigger, as the President-elect said earlier in the campaign, is really not a legal basis to go to court to try to block a vertical deal. It’s just not going to work in court.”
The former FCC Commissioner also said he believes integration between mobility and content is “good for consumers,” and that there are ways customers can insulate themselves from “anti-competitive conduct.”
“Consumers can then vote with their feet and go elsewhere, and so it’s still a competitive marketplace. You can fire a bad market actor,” McDowell explained.
If AT&T’s proposed purchase of Time Warner is passed, the former would own CNN, TNT, Warner Bros. movie studio, HBO, among other assets.