AT&T chief denies Justice Department asked for CNN sale

US Said to Seek Sale of CNN or DirecTV in AT&T-Time Warner Deal

Some sources say AT&T floated the possibility of selling CNN or other assets.

Until recently the vertical deal - which in theory should not reduce competition among the two companies' direct rivals - was considered by antitrust experts as likely to be approved with no major concessions.

Drastic options were discussed, like the sale of the entire Turner division, which includes CNN, TNT, TBS, and other channels.

AT&T bought satellite TV company DirecTV in 2015. He declared that AT&T was firm in its decision to take over Time Warner. In a November 6 letter obtained by Bloomberg, the Justice Department said Delrahim "had no professional or personal connection with, or any non-public information about, the proposed merger then", and noted he told BNN there could be other antitrust issues.

Shortly after the DOJ put out that message, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson sent out his statement disputing it. But given DOJ's statement this afternoon, it's important to set the record straight. Sources have told NBC News that AT&T previously had offered to sell off CNN, but was told that won't be enough.

"A lot of people have expressed interest in buying CNN", he said.

The fight over the deal was unexpected and is exploding over CNN, which has come under fire from President Donald Trump.

Numerous details of the negotiations are in dispute.

AT&T announced its acquisition of Time Warner more than a year ago. The Justice Department's objections surprised many on Wall Street.

Shares of Time Warner fell 1.4 percent on Thursday to $87.27 in heavy volume. And it caused some Democratic lawmakers to raise new concerns about White House interference in the Justice Department.

Some sources said Stephenson floated the possibility of selling CNN or other assets.

But she also said its review should be free from White House influence.

"The Department of Justice, in particular, has an obligation to ensure "equal justice under law". "Beyond that, the Department does not comment on any pending investigation".

The deal is opposed by an array of consumer groups and smaller television networks on the grounds that it would give AT&T too much power over the content it would distribute to its wireless customers. He said that AT&T would seek an expedited hearing in that case.

The biggest counterweight to such an argument is the Obama administration's 2011 approval of Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal.

You can see his full comments below. "Period", Stephenson said at The New York Times' Dealbook Conference.

But as a candidate, President Trump publicly vowed to block the transaction. There is absolutely no intention that we would ever sell CNN. She cited a report in the New York Times that the White House viewed the pending merger as a possible point of leverage over news coverage. "We're not going to interfere with that here", Conway said.



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