Government's holdup of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner worries some

Manhattan’s East Village. Credit Christian Hansen for The New York Times

Manhattan’s East Village. Credit Christian Hansen for The New York Times

"We have been working very diligently on a litigation strategy and a litigation plan", he said, adding: "We would obviously ask for an expedited hearing".

A DOJ source quoted by Politico later claimed that AT&T and Time Warner itself had offered to shed CNN to diminish antitrust concerns about the merger.

He was responding to tense negotiations over AT&T's proposed merger with Time Warner.

"I have never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division", Makan Delrahim said in a statement Thursday.

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".

"We're prepared to litigate now", Stephenson said at a conference this week hosted by the New York Times.

Trump during a campaign appearance in 2016 called the merger "an example of the power structure I'm fighting" and called it "a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few". "We'll see how it all plays out", Trump said aboard Air Force One, according to the White House's official transcript of the exchange. AT&T shares rose 1.6 percent to $33.97. But many, including AT&T executives, expected the acquisition to be finalized by the end of the year, and the DOJ's pushback has all but ensured that won't be the case.

Consumer groups, some TV networks and some conservative groups have criticized the deal, saying it would hurt consumers by allowing AT&T to discriminate against TV networks it doesn't own or raise prices on other cable and satellite TV companies for its programming.

Forcing a sale of CNN could harm the news network, if a buyer doesn't have the same deep pockets as AT&T and Time Warner to support newsgathering. "It's time to settle, or it's time to go to court", he said.

The DoJ has said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.

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