AT&T's CEO says he's willing to litigate if the Justice Department blocks its $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner. Fred Katayama reports.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on the offensive. He says he's willing to go to court if the Justice Department blocks its $85.4 billion deal to buy media giant Time Warner. He also said he would ask for an expedited hearing. Sources tell Reuters antitrust regulators want AT&T to sell its DirecTV satellite unit or its Turner Broadcasting business that includes the news network, CNN. Justice officials believe the proposed purchase would raise costs for rival distributors and stifle innovation. Stephenson said at a conference Thursday AT&T will not sell CNN to win antitrust approval. The company has also signaled it wouldn't sell DirecTV. Hennion & Walsh chief investment officer Kevin Mahn: SOUNDBITE: KEVIN MAHN, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, HENNION & WALSH, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think there's precedent for the marriage between a content provider and a distribution partner. That's exactly what you have in this proposed merger. Whether or not CNN is a part of that or not, I think the deal should ultimately go through, but stranger things have happened." Justice's desire for asset sales has sparked concerns about political interference in light of President Donald Trump's frequent criticism of CNN. As a candidate, he had vowed to block the sale. Time Warner shares dropped Thursday for a second straight session. AT&T shares rose.