AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal

AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal

AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal

CNN has come under the microscope of the Justice Department's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, who warned that either CNN's parent, Turner Broadcasting, or DirecTV would have to be sold before the federal government would allow a planned $85.4 billion merger between Time Warner and AT&T. "That was made by a man who is actually a very respected person, a very, very respected person".

Earlier this week reports emerged that AT&T offered to divest just CNN but the US Justice Department rejected the offer, according to Reuters.

The deal's holdup has raised suspicions of political retaliation - even from people who oppose the deal entirely.

"Are we really going to make the (Justice Department) use antitrust law to force the sale of a cable channel because the President doesn't like its news coverage?" tweeted Jessica Rosenworcel, member of the Federal Communications Commission. Trump assailed the merger on the campaign trail, saying the tie-up would concentrate media power.

Trump did again raise the issue of news media consolidation.

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One White House official told the Journal that Kushner supposedly "didn't intend the comment to be taken seriously, and was simply trying to make a point". "I do feel that you should have as many news outlets as you can, especially since so many of them are fake".

President Donald Trump appeared to stress on Saturday that he had not intervened in AT&T's bid to buy Time Warner - or sought to require that the companies sell CNN in order to obtain the USA government's approval of the deal. "And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN", he said, adding that there was "absolutely no intention" that the company would sell the network.

Trump told reporters that when it comes to the Antitrust Division review, that "it will probably end up being maybe litigation, maybe not".

Delrahim has said he was never given instructions by the White House on how to conduct his analysis. "But I do believe you should have as many news outlets as you can".

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