The surprise stemmed in part from comments a year ago from the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, who said in a TV interview shortly after the deal was announced that he did not view AT&T's plan to buy Time Warner as "a major antitrust problem".
As part of AT&T's proposed deal to acquire Time Warner, it agree to pay Time Warner a $500 million fee if it couldn't get the deal approved by regulators. The Time Warner/AT&T merger would give a single company control over such entities as CNN, DirecTV, HBO, and Warner Bros., as well as a significant share of all mobile phone services.
Earlier on Wednesday, AT&T's chief financial officer, John Stephens, signaled a major problem to Wall Street when he said he could no longer say that the deal would be complete by year's end as previously projected.
"Until now, we've never commented on our discussions with the DOJ", Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
The company's stock is now moving with a -ve distance from the 200 day SMA of approximately -5.13%, and has a solid year to date (YTD) performance of -2.14% which means that the stock is constantly adding to its value from the previous fiscal year end price.
Another sticking point in discussions is the length of time that the USA government wants to impose conditions on what AT&T can and cannot do after a deal. The stock has a market capitalization of $73,545.90, a PE ratio of 15.59, a PEG ratio of 1.49 and a beta of 0.98.
The Justice Department's hardline approach to AT&T - belying the business-friendly image of the Trump administration - has spurred questions about Trump's personal interest in the deal.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter. Requiring AT&T to sell either Turner or DirecTV would be in line with Delrahim's thinking.
The deal has attracted political interest since its inception. Previous year on the campaign trail, Trump, criticized the proposed AT&T-Time Warner deal and vowed that as president his Justice Department would block it. The consumer group opposes the deal and media consolidation in general.
As a candidate, President Trump publicly vowed to block the deal. About shares traded. Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) has risen 36.37% since November 7, 2016 and is uptrending. In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, he argued that "deals like this destroy democracy" and cited it as "an example of the power structure" that he was fighting. "I don't know the details here but this is worth investigating".
NEW YORK (AP) - AT&T now says it's "uncertain" when its $85 billion Time Warner purchase will close. But AT&T has said it doesn't want to lose the all-news network in the deal. Several Democratic lawmakers have also pushed back against the combination. "It's hard to imagine an antitrust argument that will be compelling" from the government, he said. The deal was believed to face less scrutiny than other colossal media deals because it is a so-called "vertical merger", meaning that the two entities do not compete with each other.
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