DOJ asking states to assist block AT&T-Time Warner merger: report

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The Justice Department has made overtures to state attorneys common to construct badist for blocking AT&T’s $85.four billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc., in keeping with a Wednesday report. 

A supply “briefed on the matter” instructed Reuters that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had approached 18 states. It was not clear which states’ officers had been reached out to.

A report from monetary information community CNBC mentioned the DOJ had didn’t persuade any state attorneys common to signal on to a possible lawsuit to dam the merger. An earlier CNBC report had claimed two states have been on board with a lawsuit.

The merger, which might mix telecommunications big AT&T with leisure titan Time Warner Inc., grabbed entrance web page headlines final week after studies that the DOJ demanded the sale of Turner Broadcasting as a prerequisite for approving the deal.

Turner Broadcasting consists of CNN, the cable information community that has been a goal of President Trump.

Sources on the DOJ instructed The Hill and different shops final week that they’d rejected to supply to divest CNN.

But AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson later denied that the demand had ever been made, and mentioned he would by no means entertain the thought. 

Trump has commonly attacked CNN as biased in opposition to his administration and as “fake news,” together with on Wednesday morning after he returned from a 12-day Asia journey.

While within the Philippines I used to be compelled to look at @CNN, which I’ve not finished in months, and once more realized how unhealthy, and FAKE, it’s. Loser!

— Donald J. Trump (@actualDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017

The president has not appeared on the community since a phone interview with anchor Anderson Cooper in August 2016. 

The conflicting studies in regards to the merger negotiations with the DOJ have sparked new scrutiny over whether or not there was political interference from the White House.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsCurtis wins Chaffetz’s former Utah House seat Overnight Cybersecurity: What we discovered from Carter Page’s House Intel testimony | House to mark up overseas intel reform regulation | FBI cannot entry Texas shooter’s cellphone | Sessions to testify at listening to amid Russia scrutiny FBI can’t unlock Texas shooter’s cellphone MORE on Tuesday sidestepped questions earlier than the House Judiciary Committee on whether or not he had mentioned the pending cope with anybody on the White House.

“I’m not able to comment on conversations or communications that Department of Justice top people have with top people at the White House,” he instructed lawmakers.

Democrats have additionally referred to as for hearings to look at any potential political interference.

Time Warner has a deep portfolio of tv networks, together with CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, truTV, Turner Clbadic Movies, NBA TV and Cartoon Network, amongst different on-line properties corresponding to Bleacher Report. The firm additionally owns the Warner Bros. movie studio.

AT&T, which might be a significant conduit of Time Warner content material if the deal have been authorized, bought satellite tv for pc tv service DirecTV for $48.5 billion in 2015.

“I feel very confident the deal gets done,” Stephenson mentioned earlier this yr.

“This is a vertical merger. The competitive environment in telecommunications does not change after this closes. The competitive environment in the media entertainment business does not change,” he added. 

The Justice Department probably might file a lawsuit in an try to cease the merger by way of its Antitrust Division. 

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for remark. 



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