AT&T also hopes to use Time Warner content to support an advertising business that could stand up to Google and Facebook, which dominate the digital-ad industry and are increasingly interested in video themselves. But government lawyers appear to have some reservations about the deal as proposed, and they could seek to force a combined AT&T and Time Warner to sell Turner.
AT&T's chief executive, Randall Stephenson, said this week he has no intention of selling CNN or making any other major divestments. The deal has yet to be approved by US antitrust regulators.
"We're prepared to litigate now", Stephenson said at a conference this week hosted by the New York Times. The companies had been planning to finalize the deal by the end of the year, and just last week AT&T said it was confident it would win approval for the deal since it does not involve direct competitors.
"I do feel that you should have as many news outlets as you can, especially since so many of them are fake", Trump told reporters en route to Hanoi.
The DOJ should forget about CNN and reject the merger to prevent further consolidation of media power. The White House has also said that Trump has not spoken to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the matter, nor were any White House officials authorized to speak to DOJ on it.
Olympic Medalist Aly Raisman Says Larry Nassar Sexually Abused Her
He was sued in civil and criminal court by various alleged victims, and previously admitted to possession of child pornography. Nassar is already facing 22 counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and could receive a sentence of life in prison.
Delrahim has said he prefers "structural" changes to a deal, like selling off assets, rather than having the government monitor a company's promises to abide by certain conditions, as was done with Comcast.
AT&T has signalled it would not agree to sell DirecTV, which it acquired for $49 billion in 2015, leaving CNN and other cable TV assets as the main sticking point in negotiations.
Several Democratic senators warned the deal would lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. The Department of Justice said it does not comment on pending investigations, but that it was "committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the laws and the facts".
Being forced to sell off Turner is probably a "nonstarter" for AT&T, New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin said.
Stephens reiterated confidence in the deal, saying "these types of mergers bring great benefit to customers and have very routinely been approved by the DOJ and the federal government".
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