The United States administration is close to concluding its review of the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner which the former is prepared to fund with $85 billion, sources close to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said earlier this week. While the antitrust unit of the federal agency is currently without a leader, its investigation of the deal was seemingly uninhibited by that state of affairs, though it's still unclear whether the DOJ will approve the merger with no added provisions or if it proceeds to subject it to particular conditions; when the consolidation was originally announced in late 2016, the then-presidential candidate Trump heavily criticized it and said he'd stop it if he was to become President. His later comments on the matter were non-existent, though it remains to be seen how his administration will deal with AT&T and Time Warner's proposition that some claim should be rejected under the existing antitrust laws in the country.
Despite his previous criticism of the merger, President Trump was elected on the platform that was oriented toward businesses and pledged to not stifle innovation and competition with excessive regulations. This loose approach to governance is now being employed by a number of federal agencies and may consequently benefit AT&T and Time Warner. Some industry watchers previously speculated that the President's feud with CNN may also affect the outcome of the consolidation if Time Warner refuses to replace the news channel's top management, though no firm evidence supporting these predictions has yet surfaced.
President Trump's supporters were previously quick to point out that the top political office in the country doesn't approve business mergers, though the DOJ is still led by the people appointed by the President and is unlikely to rule against the general philosophy that the administration is pursuing. If approved, the deal is projected to be a catalyst for a number of other major consolidations in the wireless industry like the one with T-Mobile and Sprint that's been in the making for months now. The DOJ may issue its final conclusions on the merger by the end of the year and the FCC isn't expected to initiate its own investigation of the matter.