As we went to press, it leaked out of AT&T and Justice Department discussions that the two were discussing likely remedies before allowing its merger with Time Warner to go ahead. One asset named was the sale of CNN.
Critics of the deal have been quick to point the finger at President Donald Trump, who refers to CNN as “fake news,” and who may want it out of the deal before allowing it to go ahead. Other suggestions have been that DirecTV could be sold, to allow the Time Warner deal to go ahead, which would be nonsensical.
Our take is that DirecTV outside of the US is already on the table with Brazilian and Mexican authorities, and that the sale of CNN should not be a deal breaker, although clearly AT&T will argue for some less dramatic concessions.
If it was a “take it or leave it” situation, we reckon that the AT&T CEO could embrace the sale of both CNN and DirecTV Latin America, but there are clearly a lot more talks and suggestions which need to be discussed, before an agreed deal between AT&T and the Justice Department emerges. The now toothless FCC has said that it has no plans to even look at deal.