Are AT&T, Time Warner Ready For Grassley Grilling?


AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner Chairman Jeffrey Bewkes have a date set for Dec. 7.

Hopefully, the matchmaker — Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) — will play nice.

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has called for a Capitol Hill hearing on the proposed acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T, and both Stephenson and Bewkes have been asked testify before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on their merger plan.

The session comes as little surprise. On Monday, Grassley commented, “This is the biggest deal of the year, combining one of the nation’s largest telecommunications providers with a media and entertainment giant. It’s imperative that the antitrust regulators conduct a robust review of the proposed acquisition.  As the process moves forward, the Senate, and the Judiciary Committee, can and will conduct oversight and ask questions about the transaction — including a hearing to examine the impact on competition and consumers.”

If anything comes as a surprise is the timing of the hearing, which will be held during a “lame duck” period that sees newly elected members of Congress prepare to move into new offices while those voted out of office disassemble their offices and staff.