AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson shot back at reports that claimed the U.S. Department of Justice said the telco had offered to sell CNN to clear the path toward approval of its pending merger with Time Warner, issuing a statement that AT&T has no intention of selling the network.
“Until now, we’ve never commented on our discussions with the DOJ,” Stephenson said in a statement Wednesday (Nov. 8). “But given DOJ’s statement this afternoon, it’s important to set the record straight. Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so.”
Earlier Wednesday, a report in the The New York Times said DOJ would require a divestiture of either Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, or DirecTV as a condition of the deal. It was the latest in what has been a growing sense that the merger, once thought to be a shoo-in for approval, may face more hurdles.
Prior to that, AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens had said at the Wells Fargo Media & Telecom Conference that the timing for the deal’s approval was “now uncertain.”