AT&T chief executive, Trump meet amid planned Time Warner merger

Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:08pm EST
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By Laila Kearney and David Shepardson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote) Chief Executive Randall Stephenson on Thursday met in New York with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, an opponent of the company's acquisition of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N: Quote).

A spokeswoman for Trump confirmed the meeting after Stephenson was seen entering Trump Tower. Stephenson, who was accompanied by Robert Quinn, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, would not answer questions from reporters.

AT&T said later on Thursday that the company's $85.4 billion deal for Time Warner was not discussed.

"The conversation focused on how AT&T can work with the Trump administration to increase investment in the U.S., stimulate job creation in America, and make American companies more competitive globally," AT&T said in a statement.

During his campaign for the White House, Trump said AT&T's proposal to buy Time Warner, owner of CNN and the Warner Bros movie studio, was an example of a "power structure" that was rigged against him and voters.

"It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," said Trump, who has repeatedly accused the media of being biased against him and his campaign.

Since the election, Trump has not commented publicly on the AT&T-Time Warner deal, but he has been critical of CNN. He sparred with a CNN reporter on Wednesday during a televised news conference.

A person briefed on the matter said AT&T requested the meeting with Trump late last week.   Continued...

Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Randall Stephenson testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee during a hearing on the proposed deal between AT&T and Time Warner in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts