DOJ Could Seek CNN Sale Before AT&T-Time Warner Merger

10 November, 2017, 01:54 | Author: Angelina Schmidt
  • CREDIT Richard Drew  AP  REX  Shutterstock

That's raising red flags for some who worry that the White House is trying to put pressure on CNN, the news network owned by Time Warner.

President Donald Trump has long slammed CNN for what he says is bias against him and his administration, charging during the campaign that "deals like this destroy democracy", the Times reports.

In August, Deadline reported that there had been rumblings at the highest executive levels that AT&T's top executives were considering divesting some Time Warner assets - including news organization CNN and celebrity gossip site TMZ - after any merger.

"All approvals have been received, but for the [Department of Justice]", Stephens said.

The head of the Justice Department's antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, said in a statement: "I have never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division".

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The two sides are far apart in getting a deal done, increasing the risk that talks could hit an impasse.

AT&T's $85.4 billion planned Time Warner acquisition would be a massive transaction with the potential to remake the media and telecommunications industries, but the deal now faces some big obstacles.

The Department of Justice said it does not comment on pending investigations, but that it was "committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the laws and the facts".

AT&T is ramping up preparations to fight the Justice Department in court if it comes to that, instructing its legal team to prepare for battle, some of the people said.

The development came as a surprise to investors.Shares of Time Warner fell 6.5 percent to $88.54, while AT&T shares were down 0.2 percent at $33.15. However, AT&T's stock was up 1 percent.

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"Resolving the AT&T-Time Warner situation will be important". It would then supply its video - HBO, CNN, TBS and the Warner Bros. movie studio - while providing access to the internet for millions of Americans.

The Justice Department's demand is likely to complicate its continuing antitrust conversations with AT&T, which said on Wednesday it was now uncertain when the deal, announced in October 2016, would be completed.

The Justice Department has the power to approve mergers with or without conditions.

AT&T issued a defiant statement in response to the demands. Until now negotiations with the companies had focused on conduct remedies, according to one of the people.

In a new interview with CNN, Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway denied that Trump is interfering with the DOJ's review of the merger.

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