Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Cramer: AT&T is 'a pitiful, helpless giant' without the Time Warner deal

Cramer: AT&T is 'a pitiful, helpless giant' without the Time Warner deal

According to that Reuters report, regulators and competitors are anxious about AT&T owning Time Warner's broadcasting business. Reports yesterday indicated that the DOJ is asking AT&T and Time Warner to sell off either CNN or DirecTV in order to win government approval of their merger (Time Warner owns CNN and AT&T owns DirecTV).

"Everybody is sitting on pins and needles", he told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times Dealbook Conference in New York. "If we feel like litigation is a better outcome then we will litigate", Stephenson said.

He declined to elaborate on just what was said in a Monday meeting with antitrust officials, but said that the company was prepared to litigate.

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says no one from the Department of Justice has asked him to sell CNN as a condition of getting his proposed Time Warner deal done.

In a statement on Wednesday, Stephenson flatly denied that CNN was for sale.

"First and foremost, irrespective of what you read yesterday, I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN". It's bad enough to think that AT&T might end up controlling CNN and HLN and charge its competitors more for the privilege of carrying them, but when we throw HBO and Warner Bros. into the mix, the potential for AT&T to become underhanded with on demand content becomes all the greater.

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Stephenson did not answer directly when asked if AT&T would be willing to sell DirecTV. I get these things from the press, 'a source in the DOJ says.'.

"I miss the old horizontal mergers", Stephenson said with a rueful grin. AT&T agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.5 billion in October 2016.

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