United Technologies' offices in Indianapolis, Indiana, the US. Picture: NOVA SAFO / AFP
United Technologies' offices in Indianapolis, Indiana, the US. Picture: NOVA SAFO / AFP

Washington — US President Donald Trump says he is a “little concerned” about the $121bn merger of defence contractor Raytheon and aerospace firm United Technologies.

Trump said he thought both were great companies but worried the merger may take away competition. “I want to see that we don’t hurt our competition,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

Later, Trump said he hoped the merger could go forward, but reiterated his concern about competition.

“I hope the Raytheon deal, I hope it can happen. But I don’t want to see where we have one less person that can compete for an order. I don’t want to see that. It’s no good,” Trump said.

Shares of both companies were higher on Monday after the surprise weekend announcement.

United Technologies provides aircraft makers with electronics, communications and other equipment, while Raytheon primarily supplies the US government with military aircraft and missile equipment.

The merger, expected to close in the first half of 2020, would potentially upend the aerospace sector, creating a conglomerate spanning commercial aviation and defense procurement.

United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes said the company’s deal with Raytheon would not lead to less competition, adding that the companies see very few regulatory hurdles for the merger’s clearance.

Trump also weighed in on large US technology firms, which have come under scrutiny from the EU.

Asked whether antitrust regulators should be looking at big tech companies, Trump said: “I think it’s a bad situation but obviously there is something going on in terms of monopoly.”

He suggested the US would look into taking action against certain companies, saying “the EU is suing them all the time. We’re going to maybe look at it differently. We have a great attorney-general. We’re going to look at it differently”.

Trump has repeatedly railed against social media companies for what he has called censorship of conservatives. He has also frequently criticised Amazon.

The US federal trade commission and the justice department have divided oversight over whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google misuse their huge market power, sources have said. The next step for the two federal agencies is to decide whether they want to open formal investigations.