Tags: cnn | sale | doj | att | time warner

CNN Sale? DOJ Said to Be Pressuring AT&T to Win Time Warner Deal OK

CNN Sale? DOJ Said to Be Pressuring AT&T to Win Time Warner Deal OK
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 09 November 2017 06:42 AM

A CNN sale reportedly is at the heart of pressure the DOJ is putting on AT&T in order for its blockbuster deal to merge with Time Warner to win federal approval.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Justice Department pushed AT&T at a Monday meeting to consider selling Turner Broadcasting, the collection of cable channels owned by Time Warner that includes CNN, as a possible requirement to approve the deal.

The Times reported sources saying the meeting in Washington, D.C. included AT&T's chief executive officer, Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T’s general counsel, David McAtee, Makan Delrahim, the new assistant attorney general for the DOJ's antitrust division, and other Justice Department officials.

CNBC reported that CEO Stephenson pushed back against the news and a DOJ account of the meeting.

"Until now, we've never commented on our discussions with the DOJ," Stephenson said in a statement, per CNBC. "But given DOJ's statement this afternoon, it's important to set the record straight. Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so."

CNBC reported sources as saying the Justice Department actually gave AT&T the choice of selling either Turner Broadcasting or DirecTV as a condition for approving the gigantic $85 billion merger with Time Warner.

"The Department is committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the laws and the facts," a DOJ representative told CNBC, responding to Stephenson's statement. "Beyond that, the Department does not comment on any pending investigation."

John Stephens, AT&T's chief financial officer, said on Wednesday that the company's acquisition of Time Warner is a "vertical integration" merger across industries and that the government has not blocked a "vertical" deal in more than 40 years, CNBC reported.

While he was campaigning for president Donald Trump said he would nix the deal, the Times noted.

"As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration, because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few," Trump said in a 2016 campaign speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, per the Times.

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A CNN sale reportedly is at the heart of pressure the DOJ is putting on AT&T in order for its blockbuster deal to merge with Time Warner to win federal approval.
cnn, sale, doj, att, time warner
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2017-42-09
Thursday, 09 November 2017 06:42 AM
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