AT&T made it official Saturday that they are going to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion next year. The acquisition will make AT&T the most prominent TV, film, and video-game producer in the world once they have their hands on HBO, CNN, and TNT. However, many politicians have expressed their opposition to the merger because the acquisition will set a media monopoly making it hard for independent productions to get to the market.
People worry about the freedom of the world of entertainment once the merger is completed. If AT&T is granted that much power in the media world, people would not have more choices but AT&T services. No-customers could be deprived of their favorite movies and shows, forcing a significant part of America to subscribe to the company’s plans. Independent artist could be left out, and without much choices, Americans would be compelled to watch what AT&T offers.
Several politicians from the republican and democratic party are against the merger of the telecommunication company and the entertainment giant due to the monopoly it would create. Sen. Bernie Sanders made it clear that he will pressure Clinton’s administration, if she wins, to oppose the acquisition. Sanders stated the America need more diverse media and not less.
Another member of the Democratic party is also opposing the merger: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Both Senators will be pushing Clinton’s administration to avoid Wall Street to become even more powerful.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has already addressed the issue and said in a speech in Gettysburg, Pa.:
“As an example of the power structure I am fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN -a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
AT&T has been lobbying for years and has a strong presence in Washington, which could make the merger go through
AT&T controls one of Washington’s most sophisticated lobbying operations and has decades of long relationships with the government. AT&T strong presence in the capital is a concern for those opposing the merger.
The telecommunication company is the 13th-biggest spender on lobbying last year. It has nearly 100 lobbyists who have achieved more than 50 pieces of federal legislation and has donated nearly $66 million to politicians from both the Republican and the Democratic party, the Washington Post reports.
The good news is that despite their presence in Washington, AT&T’s will be faced with skepticism and significant political pressure. Their lobby campaign could have worked in the past, but in the foreseeable future, it seems it will not, and many Americans rely on that.
The merger will be evaluated by the Justice Department and possibly by the Federal Communications Commission to make sure AT&T acquisition of Warner Times will not negatively affect economic competition or consumers.
Even if the merger is approved, the state could impose some conditions on the company, for example, make sure the acquisition does not exclude rivals from the market.
Source: The Washington Post