AT&T ready to fight USA on Time Warner deal: CEO

AT&T ready to fight USA on Time Warner deal: CEO

"I didn't make that decision", Trump told reporters, The Washington Post reported.

AT&T may be forced to dump CNN for the USA regulators to allow its proposed takeover of Time Warner to go through.

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 AT&T-Time Warner deal is a "vertical merger", which consolidates two companies, but does not eliminate a competitor.

According to the Post, the president was likely referring to the Justice Department's newly confirmed antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, who is overseeing the AT&T transaction - and who supported Trump in the campaign and served as a White House lawyer.

This week, Delrahim and other agency officials told AT&T that the deal as it now stands raises anti-competition concerns, and that the company will need to shed some assets, perhaps either Turner or DirecTV.

Stephenson twice said the cable channel was not on the table.

In a statement, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson denied reports he had offered to sell CNN to get the deal approved. Then he added: "I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can - especially since so many are fake". 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.

One White House official told the Journal that Kushner supposedly "didn't intend the comment to be taken seriously, and was simply trying to make a point".

Delrahim said he had not had any contact with the White House or the attorney general on the matter, speaking at an event at the USC Gould School of Law in Los Angeles later in the day. "DOJ will say, 'Hey, we are a strong cop on the beat.' And everyone walks away happy". "We'll see how it all plays out", Trump said aboard Air Force One, according to the White House's official transcript of the exchange.



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