AT&T is denying that it offered to sell CNN in addition to other major media assets in seeking approval from the Department of Justice to acquire Time Warner.
Reuters reports from its sources that the government specifically asked for the divestiture of Turner Broadcasting, which holds CNN, Cartoon Network and other broadcast brands — not including HBO, which Time Warner owns separately. AT&T was specifically reported to have offered up CNN.
“I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson stated.
President Donald Trump has been in opposition of the $85.4 billion deal with most of his displeasure based against CNN’s coverage of him during his run for office. One of his campaign promises was to have his Justice Department block the deal.
AT&T has been leveraging its prior acquisition of DIRECTV as a media chip to bundle in with wireline and wireless service contracts.