There are rumblings at the highest executive levels that AT&T’s top executives are considering divesting some Time Warner assets — including news organization CNN and celebrity gossip site TMZ — after they merge.
AT&T expects the Justice Department to approve its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, and for the deal to close, by year end. The telco has already named longtime exec John Stankey to be CEO of AT&T’s media properties. He’s leading the Time Warner Merger Integration Planning Team, working with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.
For TMZ, Deadline was told that AT&T is considering a sale to a private equity company. “They don’t want any controversy,” one source with knowledge of AT&T’s intentions says, adding that the communications giant may also be looking to sell other properties under Turner.
Selling CNN might help avoid a different kind of controversy for AT&T: President Donald Trump loathes the news network. That could be troublesome for telco CEO Randall Stephenson. His company frequently does business with the FCC, now controlled by Trump appointees.
AT&T donated $2 million to Trump’s inauguration committee.