U.S. President, Donald Trump’s administration reportedly demanded the sale of assets like CNN, before it granted permission for a merger between Time Warner and AT&T.
The merger, which could result in close to $85 billion, needs the administration’s approval before it can be passed. The demand from the administration has proven to be a wet blanket thrown on the companies’ hopes. A spokesperson for AT&T stated that the company no longer expects the deal to close this year.
The merger, which was first proposed in 2016, has been under constant scrutiny from competition authorities. Many criticized the move, stating it would lead to a concentration of media power. The U.S. President, Donald Trump was one of the merger’s fiercest objectors.
The takeover proposed by AT&T would mean that it could combine forces with one the U.S.’ largest cable providers. It would also mean that AT&T could now harness Time Warner’s entertainment expertise.
Time Warner is an industry heavyweight that owns Warner Bros movie studio, the cable channel HBO, and Turner Broadcasting. Turner Broadcasting is also the parent company of major news network CNN.
Speaking of the merger at a conference, AT&T’s CFO, John Stephens stated that combining the companies would lead to “all kind of benefits”. He also pointed out that the government had not blocked this kind of tie-up in decades.
However, he stated that the company was unconcerned with the amount of time spent on the issue. He declared that AT&T was firm in its decision to take over Time Warner.
The CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson supported this stance. He added that he had “never offered to sell CNN” and further stated that he had “no intention of doing so”.
The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on any of the proceedings.