Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has joined the political opposition to AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. “The deal would mean higher prices and fewer choices for the American people,” Sanders said today (see his tweet below).
Earlier today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Democratic vice presidential nominee and Virginia senator Tim Kaine said he had “concerns and questions” about the deal announced yesterday. “Less concentration, I think, is generally helpful, especially in the media,” Kaine told NBC’s Chuck Todd.
Hillary Clinton’s spokesman Brian Fallon said Sunday that the Democratic presidential candidate certainly “thinks regulators should scrutinize (the deal) closely,” but that “there’s still a lot of information that needs to come out before any conclusions should be reached.”
The proposed media mega-merger certainly is making for some unusual side-taking. Just yesterday, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said, if elected, he would kill the merger, insisting that “deals like this destroy democracy.”
As Deadline reported yesterday, the key terms of the AT&T-Time Warner deal has the telco agreeing to pay $107.50 a share, half cash and the other half in stock. That comes to $85.4 billion, or $108.7 billion if Time Warner’s debt in included. And though the companies said the “perfect match” would united “the world’s best premium content with the networks to deliver it to every screen,” they were vague about customer benefits.
Here’s Sanders’ reaction:
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken got the political ball rolling Saturday by saying the proposal “raises some immediate flags.”
And on the non-political side, CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter reported today that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a phone call that CNN’s possible new owner is “fully appreciative and cognizant” of the network’s independence. “I think you can begin to destroy a brand like CNN if you begin to meddle in its independence,” Stelter quoted Stephenson.