The huge takeover that could reshape media may depend on CNN's sale

10 November, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Eleanor Thompson
  • AT&T may need to jettison CNN to close Time Warner deal

Additionally, the New York Times is reporting that the sale of CNN is part of a larger request to sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN among its numerous network holdings. The Justice Department brought up the idea of divesting either DirecTV, the satellite provider, or Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, TNT and TBS, one of the people said. It had previously said the acquisition would close by the end of this year.

"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 an October 22 speech.

Selling off the cable news network is one of the demands being made by the US antitrust authority before it signs off on a deal that could reshape the landscape of both the media and telecom industries.

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

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Time Warner shares fell 6.3 percent at 2:54 p.m.to $88.68, compared with the $107.50 offer price. "I can't comment on those discussions, but with those discussions, I can now say that the timing of the closing of the deal is now uncertain".

"If today's news is just cover for an attack on CNN, it's only the latest example of how Trump is all too willing to abuse his power to intimidate the press".

It would, however, represent a change in stance by the head of the justice department's antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, who prior to taking office said he did not "see [the deal] as a major antitrust problem".

It's well-known that Donald Trump doesn't like CNN because it reports information unflattering to his administration; he calls it a "fake news" network and once posted a cartoon depicting a CNN reporter getting run over by a train on Twitter.

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There are many ways to resolve concerns about the deal, a Justice official said on Wednesday, adding that no decision had been made and that conversations with AT&T were continuing.

In an emailed statement, the Justice Department said that it "is committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the laws and the facts". It is, however, the condition viewed as the most likely sticking point as AT&T has opposed it in the past and argued the deal isn't anticompetitive.

"By immediately lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 per cent, this bill will stimulate investment, job creation and economic growth in the United States", said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chief executive.

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