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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Says There’s Only a ‘Remote’ Chance Time Warner Merger Is Blocked

Exec tells CNBC he sees little reason why the DoJ will win its appeal

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson isn’t worried about a court potentially overturning his company’s mega-merger with Time Warner.

The exec told CNBC on Friday that the “law was on our side” when a U.S. federal judge approved the $85.4 billion AT&T-Time Warner union last month, and that he’s confident the Justice Department’s appeal of the decision, filed on Thursday, will be denied.

“We feel good about where we are and we think the appeal court will look at the merits of the law,” said Stephenson. “We think the likelihood of this thing being reversed or overturned is really remote.”

Wall Street was slightly less optimistic, with shares of AT&T down about 2 percent in early morning trading.

The deal had been in limbo for more than a year before its approval in June, with the Department of Justice arguing the deal would be bad for competition and consumers. President Trump also called for the merger to be blocked as he closed his presidential campaign in 2016, saying that his Justice Department “will not approve” the deal if he was in office.

In his written opinion on the case, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon disagreed with the DoJ’s argument, however, saying that “The Government has failed to meet its burden to establish that the proposed transaction is likely to lessen competition substantially.”

A flurry of media bidding took place immediately after the deal closed last month, with Comcast and Disney fighting over most of 21st Century Fox’s TV and film business.