After the U.S. Department of Justice followed through Monday on its widely anticipated lawsuit seeking to block the AT&T acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson addressed reports that Donald Trump’s ongoing beef with Time Warner-owned CNN might be playing a role in the government’s resistance to the merger.
Deadline quotes Stephenson saying at a news conference after the lawsuit was filed: “Frankly, I don’t know [if the reports are true]. But nobody should be surprised that it keeps coming up.”
Deadline adds: “As to any potential settlement that lets AT&T keep CNN but implements any controls on the news network, he said, ‘Any agreement that results in us losing control [of CNN], either directly or indirectly, is a non-starter.’”
Stephenson appeared with attorneys including lead outside attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who fielded a question about whether the company would try to establish that the DOJ and the White House have been talking.
While he declined to specify the company’s strategy, Petrocelli said: “These things tend to come out,” adding that “it wouldn’t be good for the government’s case.”