AT&T ready to fight United States on Time Warner deal: CEO

AT&T ready to fight United States on Time Warner deal: CEO

In the run-up to last year's election he vowed that as president his Justice Department would block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner.

However, according to the U.S. news site Wired, it's not clear whether the DoJ could successfully block the merger.

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".

President Donald Trump appeared to stress on Saturday that he had not intervened in AT&T's bid to buy Time Warner - or sought to require that the companies sell CNN in order to obtain the USA government's approval of the deal.

AT&T executives have consistently expressed optimism about the deal being approved.

"I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN, period", Stephenson said at a conference Thursday. The companies had been planning to finalize the deal by the end of the year, and just last week AT&T said it was confident it would win approval for the deal since it does not involve direct competitors.

The DOJ's hardline approach to AT&T - belying the business-friendly image of the Trump administration - has spurred questions about Trump's personal interest in the deal, given his feelings about CNN's coverage of his presidency.

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The newspaper's source in the White House said that this was meant merely as a joke and Kushner did not mean to be taken seriously.

AT&T has argued against selling off either company's assets, as it believes this would undercut the rationale for the tie-up.

Representatives of Twenty-First Century Fox, AT&T and Time Warner, CNN's parent, declined comment.

News of Kushner's remarks come amid AT&T's plans for a $84.5 billion merger with Time Warner.

But sources said talks between the government and AT&T are ongoing in the hopes that an agreement can be reached.

In an emailed statement, the Justice Department said that it "is committed to carrying out its duties in accordance with the laws and the facts".

Being forced to sell off Turner is probably a "nonstarter" for AT&T, New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin said. "Beyond that, the Department does not comment on any pending investigation".

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