Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Darrell Mcdonald

AT&T may have to dump CNN to get Time Warner deal approved

AT&T may have to dump CNN to get Time Warner deal approved

DOJ and AT&T sources said the DOJ was mandating the sale, but the Justice Department denied it. AT&T was also rumored to have offered to part with CNN in order to secure the merger, but the company's CEO said publicly that selling CNN is off the table.

The deal's holdup has raised suspicions of political retaliation - even from people who oppose the deal entirely.

In an email provided by a DOJ spokeswoman, White House spokesman Raj Shah said that Trump "did not speak with the attorney general about this matter", and that "no White House official was authorized to speak with the Department of Justice on this matter". The deal, he said, would put "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

Earlier this week reports emerged that AT&T offered to divest just CNN but the US Justice Department rejected the offer, according to Reuters.

The official the president referred to was DOJ anti-trust chief Makan Delrahim, a Trump appointee who has threatened to block the deal in court unless AT&T sells off either Turner Broadcasting or its DirecTV service-the latter option impossible as it would undermine the entire basis of the merger. Then he added: "I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can - especially since so many are fake".

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Time Warner shares dropped 6.5 percent to $88.50 Wednesday. "It's illogical. It's why we did the deal", he said. Stephenson, however, made it clear that AT&T was prepared to fight attempts to block the deal.

AT&T hopes to benefit from marrying all of Time Warner's assets to its own.

The deal is opposed by an array of rivals and consumer groups anxious that it would give the combined company too much power. The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Kushner was particularly very annoyed with the cable news agency's "fact-checking" during the presidential campaign.

The DoJ has said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.

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