Stephenson Set to Go Court To Fight TW Asset Sale Demands

US Said to Seek Sale of CNN or DirecTV in AT&T-Time Warner Deal

The two men discussed divestitures that might satisfy the government's concerns.

Makan Delrahim the antitrust division head of the DOJ said the White House never instructed the agency on this matter or any other under review by my division.

AT&T bought satellite TV company DirecTV in 2015.

Spokesmen for AT&T and Time Warner declined to comment.

Raj Shah a spokesperson for the White House said in a prepared statement that the president had not spoken about the matter with the attorney general and that no official from the White House was authorized to speak with the DOJ on the matter. "But given D.O.J.'s statement this afternoon, it's important to set the record straight", he told Vanity Fair. But AT&T CEO and Chairman Randall Stephenson has said he expects the deal to close by the end of the year.

According to U.S. Department of Justice officials, AT&T offered just days ago to divest from CNN and later sell the news network.

"A lot of people have expressed interest in buying CNN", he said.

Numerous details of the negotiations are in dispute. No decision regarding the merger's next steps has been reached, but conversations remain ongoing.

The Justice Department has been reviewing the merger since early this year.

Time Warner shares fell 6.5 percent to $88.50 at the close in New York Wednesday, compared with the $107.50 offer price.

Nevertheless, the Justice Department says it flatly denied the proposal for AT&T to sell CNN, insisting it wouldn't necessarily resolve their concerns.

But she also said its review should be free from White House influence.

The Justice Department is supposed to make merger reviews based exclusively on antitrust law.

The Justice Department is declining to comment about the merger. Analysts have predicted the Trump administration's generally pro-business stance would override Trump's personal distaste for the deal. He said that AT&T would seek an expedited hearing in that case. In such deals, a competitor isn't eliminated, so it's harder for the government to show how consumers would be harmed. "While we won't comment on our discussions with DOJ, we see no reason in the law or the facts why this transaction should be an exception". The previous administration settled a similar tie-up between a pay-TV company and an entertainment giant, the acquisition of NBCUniversal by Comcast Corp., by imposing conditions.

On Wednesday, two conflicting narratives emerged about the pending deal.

"Everybody is sitting on pins and needles", he told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times Dealbook Conference in New York.

The president's vocal opposition to CNN and the deal will come up in any lawsuit, said Matthew Cantor, an antitrust attorney. "We're not going to interfere with that here", Conway said. "But with those discussions, I can now say that the timing of the closing of the deal is now uncertain".

Trump was quoted criticizing the DOJ several times last week.

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