AT&T may have to sell CNN to merge with Time Warner

Alicia Cross
November 12, 2017

"I didn't make that decision", Trump told reporters.

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.

"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. As a candidate, Donald Trump vowed to block the deal because it concentrated too much "power in the hands of too few".

"I did make a comment as to what I think", Trump acknowledged, appearing to reference previous remarks he had made on the campaign trail criticizing the AT&T deal. Another source said Murdoch had "zero interest" in owning CNN. "I do feel that you should have as many news outlets as you can, especially since so many of them are fake".

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"We'll see how that - it will probably end up being maybe litigation, maybe not". Those remarks put AT&T and DOJ on a collision course, policy analysts said, which may lead to DOJ suing to block the deal.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, said in a separate statement that Trump "did not speak with the Attorney General about this matter, and no White House official was authorized speak with the Department of Justice on this matter".

The decision would be made by Delrahim, who was nominated by Trump and joined the Justice Department's antitrust division in September after being confirmed by the Senate. Delrahim first noted Ronald Reagan's quip that the most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

The DOJ's review process is supposed to be independent, though its about-face on the merger has struck even many Democrats who oppose a combined AT&T and Time Warner as suspicious.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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