Life&Culture

Rupert Murdoch twice discussed CNN with AT&T CEO

Rupert Murdoch twice discussed CNN with AT&T CEO

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.

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

The head of the DOJ's antitrust division denied that the White House is involved in the transaction. The deal, he said, would put "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

"I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can - especially since so many are fake", Trump continued, according to a pool report. AT&T stock closed up 1.1 percent at $33.44. Stephenson, however, made it clear that AT&T was prepared to fight attempts to block the deal. But many, including AT&T executives, expected the acquisition to be finalized by the end of the year, and the DOJ's pushback has all but ensured that won't be the case. The deal has yet to be approved by US antitrust regulators.

AT&T has argued against selling off either company's assets, as it believes this would undercut the rationale for the tie-up.

Consumer groups, some TV networks and some conservative groups have criticized the deal, saying it would hurt consumers by allowing AT&T to discriminate against TV networks it doesn't own or raise prices on other cable and satellite TV companies for its programming.

Speaking at a conference in New York, Stephenson disputed claims he offered to sell CNN to win approval of AT&T's takeover of Time Warner. Several Democratic lawmakers have also pushed back against the combination. The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Kushner was particularly very annoyed with the cable news agency's "fact-checking" during the presidential campaign. "It's time to settle, or it's time to go to court", he said.

AT&T has long noted that "vertical mergers" - when one company buys another that isn't a direct competitor - are typically approved.

The DoJ has said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.


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