AT&T to invest $1B and pay bonuses due to GOP tax bill

AT&T (T) announced Wednesday it would add $1 billion in investment in the US and pay bonuses to thousands of employees when the GOP's tax reform bill is signed.

"Once tax reform is signed into law, AT&T plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees -- all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers," the company said in a statement, adding that if the bill is signed before Christmas it will pay bonuses "over the holidays." 

"Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by US businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. 

AT&T's proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner (TWX) is in limbo, after the Justice Department sued to block the merger on Nov. 20, saying it would harm competition, lessen innovation and result in higher costs for consumers. According to the complaint, which was filed in district court Monday, the combined company  would "harm consumers by substantially lessening competition among traditional video distributors and slowing emerging online competition."

With Time Warner, AT&T "would have the power to make its video distributor rivals less competitive by raising their costs, resulting in even higher monthly bills for American families," according to the complaint. "The merger also would enable the merged firm to hinder the growth of online distributors that it views as a threat to the traditional pay-TV model."

As a condition for approving the merger, the Justice Department has been pressing the telecommunications and media giant to sell Turner Broadcasting, the Time Warner unit that includes CNN. Stephenson said in a recent press conference he didn't know if the suit was about CNN but said he was confident it would fail.