AT&T may have to sell CNN to merge with Time Warner

AT&T may have to sell CNN to merge with Time Warner

Per Recode, Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he "didn't make that decision-it was made by a man who's a very respected person, a very, very respected person".

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

CNN has come under the microscope of the Justice Department's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, who warned that either CNN's parent, Turner Broadcasting, or DirecTV would have to be sold before the federal government would allow a planned $85.4 billion merger between Time Warner and AT&T.

Manne said he sees the Justice Department's remarks as "part of a settlement negotiation".

When running for the presidency, Donald Trump said, "AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal that we will not approve in my administration because it is too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

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.

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Trump on Saturday also maintained he had not been involved.

Forcing a sale of CNN could harm the news network, if a buyer doesn't have the same deep pockets as AT&T and Time Warner to support newsgathering.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement, "I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so".

Delrahim has said he was never given instructions by the White House on how to conduct his analysis.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, said in a separate statement that Trump "did not speak with the Attorney General about this matter, and no White House official was authorized speak with the Department of Justice on this matter". Those remarks put AT&T and DOJ on a collision course, policy analysts said, which may lead to DOJ suing to block the deal.