Since AT&T and Time Warner announced their merger a few weeks ago, there's been plenty of debate over whether regulators should allow the merger to go through. Donald Trump, at the time was campaigning for President, had vowed to block the deal. Now that he has won the election, he will likely make sure that the deal doesn't go through. But that isn't stopping others that are in favor of the deal from speaking out. Including Mark Cuban, who is at a Senate antitrust hearing today.
Cuban believes that AT&T needs to purchase Time Warner so that the combined company will be able to compete with the likes of Google, Snapchat, Facebook and others. Cuban said that there need to be more companies "with the ability to compete with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Delivering content to consumers in this app-driven world is not easy, it is very expensive and difficult." He goes onto argue that without the merger, neither AT&T nor Time Warner will be able to compete with these companies. He also notes that as a combined company, it'll still be difficult, but doable.
While on one side, we're looking at competition going away, with Time Warner joining AT&T, but on the other, it will help bring out even more competition. Google has YouTube available for loads of content. Amazon has been making their own original content lately, not to mention their huge library of content already available. And Facebook has been doing loads of work with live video, not to mention the video that users upload to the social network every day. But Cuban believes that users will still want that "traditional TV" setup, and that's something that AT&T and Time Warner can deliver together. In fact, it is something that AT&T has already done with DIRECTV NOW. Adding in Time Warner would just make the service even stronger.
AT&T is looking to buy Time Warner for around $86 billion. The deal was announced back in October, and hasn't been closed out just yet. It is still awaiting regulatory approval, which is what the hearing at the Senate was about today. It may get approval before the Obama administration leaves office on January 20th, but there's a big chance that it could be one of the first things that the Trump administration has to deal with when they take office next month. Trump did say he would reject the merger, but now he's looking to treat it fairly and see how this could both help and hurt the industry.