Rupert Murdoch twice discussed CNN with AT&T CEO

Ruben Ruiz
November 12, 2017

He added that AT&T was also not willing to sell HBO or Warner Bros., which would also come along with Time Warner if the deal goes through. "I do feel that you should have as many news outlets as you can, especially since so many of them are fake".

He was responding to tense negotiations over AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner.

Trump's comments have provoked concern that he may improperly influence the US Department of Justice to block the deal.

DOJ and AT&T sources said the DOJ was mandating the sale, but the Justice Department denied it. AT&T was also rumored to have offered to part with CNN in order to secure the merger, but the company's CEO said publicly that selling CNN is off the table.

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. "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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Trump vowed on the campaign trail previous year to block the merger because "it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few". AT&T shares rose 1.6 percent to $33.97. The deal has yet to be approved by USA antitrust regulators.

Consumer groups, some TV networks and some conservative groups have criticized the deal, saying it would hurt consumers by allowing AT&T to discriminate against TV networks it doesn't own or raise prices on other cable and satellite TV companies for its programming.

Being forced to sell off Turner is probably a "nonstarter" for AT&T, New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin said.

AT&T has long noted that "vertical mergers" - when one company buys another that isn't a direct competitor - are typically approved. "Beyond that, the Department does not comment on any pending investigation".

Other reports by GizPress

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