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

Apparently, the Justice Department has called on AT&T and Time Warner to sell Turner Broadcasting, the group of cable channels that includes CNN, as a potential requirement for approving the companies’ pending $85.4 billion deal. The other possible way for the merger to win approval would be for AT&T to sell its DirecTV division, apparently. The demands set up a potential battle over the fate of the long-in-the-works deal that would create a colossus straddling the worlds of media and telecommunications at a time when upstarts like Netflix are disrupting traditional players in both industries. As originally envisioned, combining AT&T and Time Warner would yield a giant company offering wireless and broadband internet service, DirecTV, the Warner Brothers movie studio and cable channels like HBO and CNN. If the Justice Department formally makes either demand a requisite for approval, AT&T and Time Warner would almost certainly take the matter to court to challenge the government’s legal basis for blocking the transaction. President Donald Trump has long accused CNN of harboring a bias against him. Separately, Trump has criticized the proposed merger from a populist perspective. In the final weeks of the presidential campaign, he argued that “deals like this destroy democracy” and cited it as “an example of the power structure” that he was fighting.

U.S. Said to Seek Sale of CNN or DirecTV in AT&T-Time Warner Deal US regulators demand CNN sale to approve AT&T-Time Warner deal (Financial Times) Trump wants to punish CNN by breaking up the AT&T/Time Warner deal (Vox) Justice Department pushes back against AT&T–Time Warner merger with new demands (The Verge) Is the AT&T merger with Time Warner being threatened because of a beef with CNN? (The Verge)