Time Warner shares fall on concern Trump will block AT&T deal
Shares of media group Time Warner Inc fell more than 2 percent yesterday on concerns that US President-elect Donald Trump will make good on his vow to block a proposed $85 billion acquisition by AT&T Inc. Trump said in October that the telecommunication company’s proposal to buy the owner of HBO, CNN and the Warner Bros film studio was an example of a “power structure” that was rigged against him and voters.
AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens on Wednesday said his company was looking forward to working with Trump and “optimistic” regulators would approve the deal. Stephens spoke at the Wells Fargo technology, media and telecoms conference in New York. Time Warner’s shares fell 2.1 percent to $86.03, while AT&T shares were down 0.4 percent at $36.88. The Dow and S&P 500 were both higher in early trading.
The election results mean “increased risks” for the AT&T-Time Warner deal, Angelo Zino, analyst at CFRA Research, said. “At the very least, there are going to be individuals put in place (by a Trump administration) that are going to make the deal a lot more challenging to complete,” he added. AT&T offered $107.50 per share for Time Warner last month, aiming to acquire content to attract online customers. It has said the US Department of Justice will review the deal, which likely faces intense scrutiny since lawmakers are already concerned about cable company Comcast Corp’s $30 billion acquisition of NBCUniversal. It is “too early to say” that Trump will block the deal, Josh Duitz, portfolio manager at Alpine Funds that owns AT&T shares, said. “Candidates say a lot to help them win election, and when reality sets in, you have to see what they do,” Duitz said.— Reuters