AT&T Unconcerned About Federal Retribution Over Time Warner

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AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson is unconcerned about potential federal retribution over the Time Warner deal that the telecom giant managed to complete following months of legal battles with the Department of Justice, the wireless veteran told CNBC. The $85.6 billion merger was successfully completed earlier this week after a competent judge dismissed the DOJ's lawsuit alleging the tie-up would be anti-competitive in nature, having allowed the deal to progress with no additional concessions on AT&T's part. The antitrust division of the DOJ previously tried pressuring the mobile service provider into divesting its DIRECTV unit or selling off Time Warner's Turner division, arguing the consolidation would provide the company with too much media power.

Time Warner is now been rebranded into WarnerMedia, with some of its programming being set to become available to AT&T's subscribers free of charge, the company said. Some analysts remain skeptical of the deal, noting how AT&T is taking on massive debt at a time when its core business is stagnating and even declining in certain aspects, whereas Time Warner itself is also facing issues due to the cord-cutting trend. Mr. Stephenson said the deal is meant to lead to the creation of a "modern media company" capable of competing with streaming giants such as Netflix. The DOJ still has several days to appeal the decision but isn't likely to do so.

AT&T already clashed with the U.S. government earlier this year over its planned retail partnership with Huawei which the stateside intelligence community labeled a national security threat, having been pressured into dropping the collaboration under the threat of its lucrative federal contracts being pulled, industry sources said in January. Mr. Stephenson said recently said he doesn't agree with Washington's recent moves regarding international trade, most likely referring to the 25-percent tariff President Trump resolved to impose on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese technologies earlier this week.

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