ATT may have to divest CNN to merge with Time Warner

Combination of the photos of the logos of AT&T of one of the Time Warner completed the October 16, 2016 (Photo SAUL LOEB, STAN HONDA. AFP)

The american authorities requested to AT&T and Time Warner to sell the string of information to CNN or the operator of the satellite DirecTV to get the green light to their merger, said Wednesday, AFP sources close to the matter.

The department of Justice (DoJ), which is currently examining this marriage, has presented these query recently to two groups, these were added the sources on condition of anonymity.

The ministry claimed more particularly the assignment of the Turner Networks, the division grouping the activities of the television from Time Warner, including television channel, streaming news CNN, said one of the sources.

This query might raise a public outcry because the american president Donald Trump has repeatedly vilify CNN since his election, calling it “fake news” (fake media).

He had said during the election campaign that he would oppose this operation is expected to create a behemoth with more than $ 142 million mobile subscribers with a catalog of content sought in the sports, movies and tv series and also the leadership in the online video.

Aware of the risks, Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, has abandoned his reserve and his silence as usual.

“Until now we have never commented on our discussions with the DoJ,” said Wednesday, Mr Stephenson. “But in the light of the statement by the DoJ this afternoon, it is important to put the points on the i: during this procedure, I never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing that,” he said.

“The department of Justice is determined to perform its duties in compliance with the law and the facts,” responded a spokesman for the ministry of Justice.

– Veto possible –

John Stephens, cfo of AT&T, had already prepared the ground by stating, during a conference with investors in New York in the morning, as the date of finalization of the marriage was now “uncertain” due to the state of the current negotiations with the Justice department.

AT&T and Time Warner were planning to finalize their merger by the end of the year, hoping to obtain without difficulty the green light from the competition authorities.

But the first hitch was appeared in the beginning of the week when the american press had reported that the DoJ was planning to veto this transaction, which suggested that the regulator was attempting to obtain major concessions from AT&T and Time Warner.

Shortly after the announcement of the combination in October 2016, many observers had raised the possibility of see the administration’s Trump to use them to “punish” CNN, in which he criticised the coverage of his election campaign.

The tensions between the string of information, and the White House, the symbol of the state of relations between the new administration and the american media, have reached a point of no return in January at the first press conference of Donald Trump.

On this occasion, the new president had refused, repeatedly, to let a reporter from CNN ask a question but had given the speech to a journalist of the small chain of information conservative One America News Network (OAN).

“I am thinking of changing the name of a false media CNN fraud media CNN”, had tweeted the president billionaire on the 1st of July.

CNN is the only major chain to not have had an interview with Mr. Trump since his assumption of office. The very conservative Fox and its various incarnations have had the honors of interviewing the tenant of the White House 18 times on 23 interviews.

Critics of the White House coupled with a cover aggressive of the administration have resulted in a financial bonanza for CNN, whose hearings beat the records.

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