In a remarkable change in sentiment, Wall Street has rallied to a record high in the two days since Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election.
At least one stock, however, has failed to take part. Shares of Time Warner have lagged the rest of the market on growing concerns that its proposed merger with AT&T, announced last month, has just hit a huge iceberg.
There may be good reason for concern. On October 22, campaigning in Pennsylvania, candidate Trump railed against the proposed deal.
"As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," Trump said during a speech.
What can Trump do to stop such a deal? Plenty. For starters, a Trump administration Justice Department could file an antitrust suit to stop the merger.
But the idea of a Republican administration seriously opposing a merger has baffled a number of regulatory experts, since the GOP has generally looked kindly on Wall Street-friendly mergers.
Just how out-of-the-ordinary is the President-elect's position? Let's compare it to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the socialist lawmaker from Vermont.
“This proposed merger is just the latest effort to shrink our media landscape, stifle competition and diversity of content, and provide consumers with less while charging them more,” Sanders wrote in a letter to the head of the Obama administration's Justice Department antitrust division. “This merger represents a gross concentration of power that runs counter to the public good and should be blocked.”
Sanders went on to suggest that consumers have been hurt when companies use their increased scale after thinning out the competition. He notes that AT&T bought DirecTV in 2015, and quickly raised prices for DirecTV services.
As for its part, AT&T is trying to put on a brave face. Company CFO John Stephens told Fortune the firm looks forward to working with the president-elect, hoping to convince him the deal would promote innovation and consumer choice.
Fortune suggests it could be a tough sell, noting “that merger may be dead.”
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