Donald Trump has vowed to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner if he becomes president, arguing that it would monopolise power among too few media companies, including those which he believes are hostile to his presidential bid.
The Republican nominee made the announcement during a speech at Gettysburg on Saturday (22 October) which was intended to outline his plans and policies if he were to turn around Hillary Clinton’s double digit lead in the latest national polls and become president.
Aside from his pledge to block the AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, Trump also used the speech to reiterate his intentions to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, renegotiate trade deals, repeal Obamacare, and reverse the executive actions of President Barack Obama.
Telecoms giant AT&T, currently the third largest cable provider in the US, agreed a $85.4bn (£70bn) takeover deal with Time Warner which owns CNN and HBO. The deal is likely to face scrutiny from government regulators skeptical of power being consolidated among a few titans.
Trump stated that he planned to block the merger “because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few” and added that the deal represented be "an example of the power structure I'm fighting."
The Republican nominee said such a deal would further hurt his reputation because "dishonest mainstream media" have reported on what he says are unproven lies about him.
"They're trying desperately to suppress my vote and the power of the American people," said Trump.
Recently Trump's brand has been hurt as a steady flow of potential customers have begun shunning his resorts, restaurants and other branded endeavors.
AT&T and Time Warner said both of their boards unanimously approved the deal. The merger follows on from similar deals such as the Lionsgate’s purchase of pay-TV channel Starz for $4.4 billion earlier this year. The Redstone family, which owns CBS and Viacom, has also encouraged the two former joint companies to consider reuniting.
The consolidation of media companies is likely to increase given the increasing power of Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube which are responsible for the shift in traditional media. This shift has resulted in a decline in fees from cable service providers and advertising, forcing media companies to join forces to gain more negotiating leverage with advertisers and entertainment companies.