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Time Warner, AT&T Merger Could Close in 60 Days

6 Jul, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Media reports say President Trump wants CNN boss Jeff Zucker fired

AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner could close in the next two months, according to a CNBC tweet. Meanwhile, separate reports say President Trump won’t back the deal unless CNN president Jeff Zucker is fired.

Time Warner shareholders in February approved the deal that would bring Warner Bros., Turner and HBO under AT&T’s control. The telecom giant eyes the aforementioned properties as vital to generating content for traditional, wireless and over-the-top distribution. 

Trump, who reportedly was opposed to the merger on regulatory grounds, could now use his burgeoning feud with CNN to undermine the deal.

CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, has been at odds with Trump since the election when then-candidate Trump called the network and other media outlets fake news following their reports critical of the president and his administration.

The situation escalated over the Fourth of July weekend after a social media user on Reddit posted a prank video of Trump slamming the CNN logo to the ground at a World Wrestling Entertainment event. The actual video from 2007 had Trump (a frequent participant at WWE events) knocking WWE CEO Vince McMahon to the ground.

In a July 2 tweet, Trump used the video to continue his attack on CNN, accompanied by the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN (Fake News Network).

Makan Delrahim, Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, last fall in an interview said the scope and size of the AT&T, Time Warner deal warranted scrutiny.

“However, I don’t see this as a major antitrust problem,” Delrahim said.

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