AT&T has “no intention” of selling CNN despite the Justice Department’s demand the company sell of which in order to approve the Time Warner acquisition, according to CEO in addition to chairman Randall Stephenson.
“Until currently, we’ve never commented on our discussions with the DOJ,” Stephenson said in a statement. “yet given DOJ’s statement of which afternoon, of which’s important to set the record straight. Throughout of which process, I have never offered to sell CNN in addition to have no intention of doing so.”
Sources told CNBC of which the Justice Department wants AT&T to sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, or DirecTV as condition for approval of the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal.
In addition, DOJ sources told NBC News AT&T offered selling CNN during a meeting on Monday regarding the proposed merger. The DOJ’s Antitrust Division “flatly rejected of which” because of which would certainly not solve potential anti-competition issues. Justice Department officials told NBC News there are multiple ways to solve issues regarding the AT&T-Time Warner deal, yet selling CNN would certainly not resolve concerns.
“The Department is usually committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the laws in addition to the facts,” a DOJ spokesperson said in response to Stephenson’s statement. “Beyond of which, the Department does not comment on any pending investigation.”
Time Warner shares were down 6 percent after the reports. AT&T’s stock was up 1 percent.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized CNN as fake news on his social media Twitter account inside past year.
The company previously said of which expected the deal to close by the end of 2017.
When asked about the deal earlier Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Media in addition to Telecom Conference in fresh York, AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said:
“We are in active discussions with the [Department of Justice]. Those are continuing on. I can’t comment on those discussions, yet with those discussions, I can currently say of which the timing of the closing of the deal is usually currently uncertain.”
Stephens said the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner is usually a “vertical integration” merger across industries. He noted of which the government has not blocked a “vertical” deal in more than 40 years.
AT&T announced the cash in addition to stock deal to acquire Time Warner in October 2016.
Time Warner shares dropped 4 percent on Nov. 2 after The Wall Street Journal reported of which the Justice Department’s antitrust division was preparing for litigation in case of which decided to sue to block the deal.
The Financial Times first reported on Wednesday of which the Justice Department told AT&T in addition to Time Warner of which must sell CNN. The fresh York Times later reported of which either CNN or DirecTV must be sold.
—CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin contributed to of which report.