AT&T Likely Would Win Court Fight Over Time Warner, Analysts Say

Nov 12, 2017, 02:12
AT&T Likely Would Win Court Fight Over Time Warner, Analysts Say

Reports yesterday indicated that the DOJ is asking AT&T and Time Warner to sell off either CNN or DirecTV in order to win government approval of their merger (Time Warner owns CNN and AT&T owns DirecTV). AT&T, unsurprisingly, has been resistant to both of those requests, and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has also said that he's willing to take the U.S. to court if regulators can't come up with a good settlement.

AT&T is already prepared for court.

He called Monday's meeting with DOJ "productive", but pressed on the two stories that don't add up, Stephenson says "It's a fair question".

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on Thursday denied reports that the Justice Department wanted CNN sold as a condition for allowing a merger between the telecom giant and Time Warner. According to some news reports, the Justice Department told AT&T it must sell CNN's parent unit or DirecTV, its pay-TV company, for the deal to go through.

Stephenson closed the door on selling CNN. "Until now, we've never commented on our discussions with the DOJ", he said in the statement.

"This has got to be one of the more arbitrary and capricious potential prosecutions I've seen", Cramer said. "There is absolutely no intention that we would ever sell CNN". But just moments later, Stephenson repeated, "I am not selling CNN".

It's been quite some time since we heard about AT&T's planned acquisition of Time Warner, but today the deal is forcing its way back into the spotlight. The concern is that AT&T may force its competitors to pay higher prices to broadcast Time Warner's content, which the consumer would presumably feel one way or another.

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