Sources close to the Wall Street Journal report that AT&T plans to separate its telecom and media businesses should the Trump administration approve the merger.
The restructure would separate AT&T’s wireless business and its DirecTV satellite television subsidiary from its Time Warner media assets, which include HBO, Warner Bros., and CNN. AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson would keep his post, although it remains unclear how AT&T would restructure the other parts of its business, and whether CNN President Jeff Zucker will stay as the news organization’s leader.
AT&T spokesman Larry Solomon told the Wall Street Journal, “Randall Stephenson will remain chairman and CEO after we close the Time Warner transaction.” Solomon explained that AT&T continues to develop its proposed organizational structure should the Trump administration approve the merger.
President Donald Trump recently ripped into CNN at a fundraiser and suggested that Jeff Zucker could resign soon due to CNN’s recent scandals.
“These are really dishonest people. Should I sue them? I mean, they’re phonies. Jeff Zucker — I hear he’s going to resign at some point pretty soon. I mean, these are horrible human beings,” the president said.
CNN continues to drown in scandal after three senior editorial staffers resigned after they had published a very fake news hit piece on President Donald Trump and his associates. CNN even threatened to dox, or reveal personal details of an anonymous internet username, after the Redditor posted a gif of President Trump metaphorically body slamming CNN.
The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum reported that administration officials might consider using Time Warner’s pending merger with AT&T as leverage against CNN. Grynbaum wrote:
White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card.
AT&T plans to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion, which President Donald Trump pledged he would block when he was on the campaign trail. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to conduct an antitrust review of the proposed merger.