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Time Warner Falls as AT&T Says Timing to Close Deal 'Now Uncertain'

Time Warner's New York headquarters

Maybe President Trump doesn't want his Department of Justice to approve AT&T Inc.'s (T - Get Report) $85.4 billion acquisition of time Warner Inc. (TWX - Get Report) .

In the latest turn for the blockbuster deal, AT&T finance chief John Stephens said Wednesday, Nov. 8, that the timing for closing the transaction is "now uncertain." AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has been saying for months that he expected to receive regulatory approval for the deal by the end of 2017.

Time Warner shares were tumbling 2.5% in premarket trading Wednesday after closing on Tuesday at $94.66. AT&T shares were roughly flat before the opening bell, down 5 cents to $33.02.

Speaking at a Wells Fargo investor conference in New York on Wednesday, Stephens said the regulatory process had slowed as the department's new antitrust division chief, Makan Delrahim, the Trump nominee who wasn't approved by the Senate until Sept. 28, becomes more involved in assessing the deal.

AT&T has argued that the transaction qualifies as a "vertical merger," combining a content company, Time Warner, with its own distribution networks, wireless and broadband. Yet during the presidential campaign, Trump said he was concerned that the merger would concentrate too much media power in the hands of one company.

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