Economy

AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal

AT&T CEO says open to litigation on Time Warner deal

AT&T discussed the Time Warner deal on Monday with Makan Delrahim, the Department of Justice's antitrust chief, AT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson said Thursday.

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".

The Justice Department's desire for asset sales has raised concerns about political influence on the $85.4 billion deal, given U.S. President Donald Trump's frequent criticism of CNN.

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Stephenson twice said the cable channel was not on the table.

Trump did again raise the issue of news media consolidation.

A White House official said Kushner didn't intend for the comment to be taken seriously and was only trying to make a point, according to the Journal, which reported that the remark "wasn't taken lightly" inside Time Warner. "This way, at least you can get your word out".

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"I do feel you should have as many news outlets as you can - especially since so many are fake", Trump continued, according to a pool report. He said during the campaign that he would block the merger, citing the concentration of media. "And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN", he said, adding that there was "absolutely no intention" that the company would sell the network.

"We'll see how that - it will probably end up being maybe litigation, maybe not".

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

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Kushner told Gary Ginsburg, Time Warner's executive vice president of corporate marketing and a former lawyer for the Clinton White House that "CNN should fire percent of its staff because they were so wrong in their analysis of the election and how it would turn out, people familiar with the matter say". As the New York Timesnoted, Delrahim insists any decision would be made on the basis of protecting competition in the market rather than politics, though the intervention is a surprise given his "more free-market-oriented Republican views".