AT&T Resists DOJ Order To Divest Time Warner's CNN For Merger Approval

Reuters

"The only reason you would divest CNN would be to kowtow to the president because he doesn't like the coverage", one source said. But the source said Delrahim had been critical of the deal since taking the helm of the DOJ's antitrust division.

However, it's not clear if AT&T would be willing to part with anything it's acquiring from Time Warner. "But with those discussions, I can now say that the timing of the closing of the deal is now uncertain".

CFO John Stephens said Wednesday that discussions with the Justice Department, which must approve the deal, are "active".

AT&T is seeking federal approval for an $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, one of the nation's largest entertainment conglomerates that, in addition to Turner, also owns HBO and Warner Bros, which produces films such as the upcoming "Justice League" movie and the Harry Potter series.

On last Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said "we're not going to interfere with that here".

But it is the fate of CNN that could prove the most explosive element of the deal. If you are reading this report on another website, it was copied illegally and republished in violation of USA & worldwide copyright & trademark legislation.

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Outfielder Lorenzo Cain and catcher Salvador Perez were also nominated for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards this year. But the votes of major league coaches and managers still account for about 75 percent of the selection process.

Wall Street analysts had widely expected the deal to go through.

Speculation about the Trump administration having pushed the Department of Justice to require the sale of CNN began as soon as the FT's story was published.

But AT&T chief Stephenson said the combined company would "give customers unmatched choice, quality, value and experiences that will define the future of media and communications".

AT&T has long noted that "vertical mergers" - when one company buys another that isn't a direct competitor - are typically approved.

"Until now, we've never commented on our discussions with the DOJ", said Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chairman and CEO.

The Justice Department's hardline approach to AT&T - belying the business-friendly image of the Trump administration - has spurred questions about Trump's personal interest in the deal.

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Louis, Missouri in March for allegedly assaulting two pedestrians, though the charges were later dropped. In August , he was stopped for reckless endangerment while driving his motorcycle in New York City.

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

AT&T announced its acquisition of Time Warner more than a year ago.

As the president has escalated his vocal war with CNN, reporters and executives at the news organization have wondered openly whether Trump will seek to use the deal as leverage over the network.

"Because this is a vertical merger that combines distribution with content, the D.O.J. would have to show that a combined entity has the incentive as a vertically integrated company to foreclose rival content producers and/or rival distributors from access to content", Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, said.

Reuters first reported that Justice may ask for a sale of either DirecTV or Turner, and reported that AT&T and Time Warner are considering legal action to preserve the merger and prevent a divestiture.

Separately, Mr. Trump has criticized the proposed merger from a populist perspective.

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