AT&T’s $85 billion merger deal with Time Warner has reportedly entered the late stages of its approval process at the Department of Justice.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal is now being discussed by regulators in terms of merger conditions that will be placed on the combined company.
The newest report about the AT&T-Time Warner approval process comes after last month a separate report also indicated the deal had moved onto conditions.
According to Bloomberg, before the deal is given the U.S. government’s go-ahead, AT&T is being asked to make vows of good behavior, including not granting unfair preference for its own programming. If the deal is approved, AT&T will own Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO and Turner networks including CNN, TBS and TNT.
The positive signs for approval of the massive deal are showing up despite consistent scrutiny from lawmakers and opposition from President Donald Trump, who signaled before the election he would block the merger and has been embroiled in a war of words with CNN.
Earlier reports suggested that the White House could use the deal as leverage in its fight against CNN, and other reports suggested that the White House could insist on CNN boss Jeff Zucker being fired before final regulatory approval is granted.
But, as the report points out, the AT&T-Time Warner deal going through could be seen as a business-positive move for a Trump administration that just dissolved two advisory panels stocked with top U.S. business executives.
In anticipation of the deal and the upcoming transition, AT&T announced changes to its own executive team structure.
John Stankey will lead AT&T's Time Warner merger integration and work with Time Warner Inc. before taking over for Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes as CEO of the media company. Stankey will take on the role running Time Warner after previously serving as CEO of AT&T's Entertainment Group.
Stankey will still report to Randall Stephenson, who will remain AT&T chairman and CEO.
John Donovan, current chief strategy officer for AT&T, will become CEO of AT&T Communications—including AT&T's Business Solutions, Entertainment and Technology & Operations groups—after the merger.
In addition, Global Marketing Officer Lori Lee will assume leadership of AT&T International.