Rupert Murdoch twice discussed CNN with AT&T CEO

12 November, 2017, 02:40 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Manhattan’s East Village. Credit Christian Hansen for The New York Times

However, according to the U.S. news site Wired, it's not clear whether the DoJ could successfully block the merger.

"While there are plenty of good reasons to oppose AT&T's Time Warner takeover, punishing CNN for trying to hold this administration accountable isn't one of them", Free Press' president, Craig Aaron, said in a statement.

In a statement, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson denied reports he had offered to sell CNN to get the deal approved.

AT&T executives have consistently expressed optimism about the deal being approved.

Stephenson twice said the cable channel was not on the table. He said the company had been ready to go to court the day the deal was announced. "I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can-especially since so many are fake".

The Journal continued that, according to a White House official, Kushner was merely making a point, and did not mean to be taken seriously. But many, including AT&T executives, expected the acquisition to be finalized by the end of the year, and the DOJ's pushback has all but ensured that won't be the case.

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Delrahim has said he prefers "structural" changes to a deal, like selling off assets, rather than having the government monitor a company's promises to abide by certain conditions, as was done with Comcast. Buying Time Warner would give AT&T more video through HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT and other cable networks and the Warner Bros. movie studio. AT&T also could use Time Warner's video to support its wireless business.

Several Democratic senators warned the deal would lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

But sources said talks between the government and AT&T are ongoing in the hopes that an agreement can be reached.

Being forced to sell off Turner is probably a "nonstarter" for AT&T, New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin said.

Antitrust experts were hard-pressed to think of examples of blocked "vertical" deals, in which the acquiring company isn't a direct competitor of the company being purchased. 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". The government has the burden to show that the deal would reduce competition.

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