Trump praises Disney-Fox Deal
In the hours after the Disney-Fox merger was announced, US President Donald Trump spoke with Rupert Murdoch to congratulate him on the deal and seemingly expressed some support for it.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump "thinks that this could be a great thing for jobs, and certainly looks forward to - and hoping to see a lot more of those created."
Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine reported that Trump called Murdoch ahead of the Disney deal to make sure that Fox News would not be among the assets sold.Putin praises Trump, rejects US 'spymania'
Given Trump's relationship with Murdoch, the president's expression of at least some favouritism for the mega-merger is likely to again focus attention on his influence over a major media transaction.
That has been an issue in the AT&T-Time Warner merger, which is now being challenged by the Justice Department. Makan Delrahim, the chief of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, denies that the decision to try to block the deal was because of White House interference, and argues that the transaction poses anticompetitive concerns that could mean higher prices for consumers.
But Trump has railed against CNN during the presidential campaign and in his first year in office, and has said that there is a problem with media concentration in general. There were reports that Justice Department attorneys told AT&T that one of their options was to sell the Turner division, which includes the news network, as a way to get the deal approved.Trump tax cut bill clears first hurdle
By contrast, Trump has expressed more favourable views of Fox News, and routinely quotes from Fox & Friends in his morning tweets.
The Disney-Fox deal faces a regulatory review process that could take up to 18 months. In their merger announcement, the two companies talked about saving $2 billion from cost efficiencies, but it is unclear if that means jobs will be trimmed.