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AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal
12 November 2017, 12:27 | Cedric Leonard
Rupert Murdoch 'interested in buying CNN' after reports Trump administration may force AT&T to sell it
Justice Department staff have reportedly recommended that AT&T sell either its DirecTV unit or Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting unit - which includes CNN - to gain antitrust approval of the merger.
The Wall Street Journal has reported thatTrump's son-in-law and a senior aide had told Time Warner's executive vice president of corporate marketing Gary Ginsberg to dump 20 percent of CNN employees over their alleged inaccurate analysis of the 2016 presidential election. "That was made by a man who is actually a very respected person, a very, very respected person".
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. The Justice Department has asked that assets like cable news network CNN and satellite provider DirecTV be sold, according to people familiar with the matter. In light of Trump's frequent critiques of CNN, the move raised questions about Trump's possible political interference in what is supposed to be an impartial economic analysis. He said during the campaign that he would block the merger, citing the concentration of media. "We are prepared to litigate now", Stephenson told CNBC on the sidelines of the New York Times Dealbook conference.
Trump did again raise the issue of news media consolidation. "This way, at least you can get your word out". And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN. "So we'll see - that probably ends up being litigation maybe not, we'll see how it all plays out".
At a USC event on Friday, Delrahim again said that he has not had any communication about the transaction with the White House.
"While there are plenty of good reasons to oppose AT&T's Time Warner takeover, punishing CNN for trying to hold this administration accountable isn't one of them", Free Press' president, Craig Aaron, said in a statement. "But I do believe you should have as many news outlets as you can".
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