AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal (T, TWX)


Donald Trump

Mr Stephenson reiterated this week that he wasn’t interested in selling CNN and hadn’t offered a sale as a condition to gain USA approval of AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Inc.

Other people familiar with the calls said Mr. Murdoch did mention buying CNN and Mr. Stephenson conveyed both times that he wasn’t interested in selling the cable news channel.

CNN and its parent company Time Warner were in the spotlight this week over reports that the Trump administration wanted CNN sold as a condition of a merger between AT&T and Time Warner.

A White House official said Kushner didn’t intend for the comment to be taken seriously and was only trying to make a point, according to the Journal, which reported that the remark “wasn’t taken lightly” inside Time Warner. As head of CNN’s biggest competitor, Fox News, Mr Murdoch would have a vested interest in learning about Mr Stephenson’s plans. Though AT&T’s CEO claimed that no such request had been made, CNN staffers told The Daily Beast that they are “stunned” and “scared” in light of the news.

AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens told investors at a conference on Tuesday that the timing for completion of the Time Warner acquisition was now uncertain.

The U.S. Department of Justice has demanded significant asset sales in order to approve the deal, sources told Reuters on Wednesday, and asked AT&T to sell CNN-parent Turner Broadcasting or its DirecTV satellite TV operation in discussions on Monday.

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