Skip to comments.Trump's beef with CNN could spill over into AT&T's $85B deal with Time Warner
Posted on 07/07/2017 2:26:28 PM PDT by bigbob
President Donald Trump's threat to block the $85 billion deal between AT&T and Time Warner has yet to materialize. Time Warner chief executive Jeff Bewkes even scoffed at the notion back in May.
However, that could soon change due to the adverse relationship between the White House and Time Warner-owned CNN.
President Trumps reposting of an altered wrestling video was celebrated by its creator on Reddit. Enlarge President Trumps reposting of an altered wrestling video was celebrated by its creator more
Recall how CNN was recently hit with a $100 million lawsuit after it retracted a story detailing how Senate investigators were looking into a meeting between President Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci and the CEO of the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund.
Consider the GIF controversy from earlier this week, plus CNN's response to the Reddit user who created it, and the scenario doesn't bode well for Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) and AT&T's getting the transaction approved by Trump-era regulators.
Meanwhile, analysts have since been speculating how the Department of Justices Antitrust Division will view the merger. A recent New York Times feature, titled "The Network Against the Leader of the Free World," explains just how problematic the situation is:
"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." The silver lining in this could be that Trump thinks highly of AT&T (NYSE: T) CEO Randall Stephenson. During meetings with tech executives last month, Trump gave his congratulations to Stephenson for doing really a top job."
The president hasnt spoken publicly about the deal since his pre-election comments, but a Bloomberg report earlier this year cited unnamed sources who said Trump was holding onto his opposition.
The DOJ is currently evaluating the deal. If it feels it would spur an unfair marketplace for consumers, it could choose to litigate in court to block it.
There could also be ramifications on overall M&A activity should "political beef" play a role in winning DOJ approval, Axios' Dan Primack explained. "It also would be sure to spark legal challenges," he added.
The interesting takeaway here is that Trump has a good relationship with the CEO of AT&T. Everyone thinks Zucker will be gone but maybe that portends even more changes at the Crap Not News network.
I would love to see TWX dump CNN to Ailes’s widow and former Fox executives plus BOR. It would be great to witness the bloodbath and the creation of a new network.
If A.T.&T. has any hope of some of us citizens remaining or buying their products, they had best get rid of CNN...if it doesn’t happen, some of us citizens will say bye bye...
My late husband worked for A.T.&T. for 35 years, back in the day they were very concerned about their ‘reputation’ and I don’t think they would blow off $$$ for some fake news cable mess that lies, threatens and is crooked...
Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs.
Just more Fake News ‘narrative’ that Trump would abuse his authority.
Every day the media seeks to fashion new lies.
As I see It, Trump is doing ATT a big favor.
The Tweets have effectively devalued CNN that effectively devalues TWX. ATT will make some money on the purchase.
CNN is to be cast by the wayside. Perhaps some one will buy it on the very cheap and attempt to salvage the wreckage but it will be very expensive.
When a corporation tries to blackmail a minor child over a joke GIF (that the child didn’t even make) it’s time to dismantle that corporation.
Let the chips fall where they may.....
“My late husband worked for A.T.&T. for 35 years, back in the day they were very concerned about their reputation and I dont think they would blow off $$$ for some fake news cable mess that lies, threatens and is crooked...”
I think you can’t compare the AT&T of 35 years ago with the AT&T of today. It’s already too big and too powerful, and the idea of allowing it to get bigger and more powerful should give everyone pause. When you get to the point where you have a small number of mega companies who have the resources to challenge the Federal Government (and by extension, the people), it’s time for a break and maybe some breaking up. I’d like to have an alternative to AT&T, but where I live they are a monopoly in both telecom and cable. It is sheer lunacy for AT&T to have both a wireline based CATV business (Uverse) and a competing satellite-based system (DirecTV). I mean what’s next? Do they get to buy Comcast and DISH?
Thirty-five years ago, Judge Harold Greene broke up AT&T (separated the local operating companies from the long-lines business). Now, they have put it all back together with the Baby Bells gobbling each other up until Southwestern Bell ended up owning all of them. Then SWB just buys AT&T and voila, it’s like Judge Greene never did anything. And all the while, the FCC sat around with their collective fingers up their collective a$$es, watched it happen, and did nothing to stop it.
Zucker should have given Leno a US$150 million buyout (spread over four years). Leno would be more than happy to retire from television with that payment, since Leno still earns close to $500,000 per week doing stand-up comedy in Las Vegas--and many hotels would LOVE to have him on what Vegas hotels call "residency" for a month or so since he could have drawn in a huge crowd to Vegas.
Now, Zucker is about to end another stint at the division President level with disastrous results.
The legacy AT&T was a company, technology, and culture like we’ll never see again. They built a global network and just about every piece and part that went into it, and you’re right -that company wouldn’t have wanted any part of this. Let’s hope the smart people in charge now remember!
The reason AT&T wants TWX is the content creation businesses (HBO and the Turner Networks, primarily of which CNN is a part) - and why wouldn’t they be motivated to re-organize CNN so that at the very least they don’t piss off half or more of the potential audience from the get-go? Content that no one sees isn’t worth very much.
I can’t see Donald nixing it on account of the bone he picked with CNN.
However he might issue some amusing tweets about it.
AT&T was once great — SUPER great. OK, they had a monopoly. But their phones stood up to proverbial tanks.
I don’t think it handled entry into the private world very well. It’s now another “OK” liberal-trendy company, as is the half of it that is now Alcatel-Lucent.
But even yet. Maybe AT&T will not be as stupid as CNN.
The #CNNBlackmail hashtag is still going strong on Twitter but now there’s a new one just for GIFs and MEMES:
Hilarious! My fav so far has Trump lighting a ball on fire, which Sarah Huckabee Sanders kicks - right into the CNN guy (Acosta), uh...groin area ;-)
Many more - CNN has unleashed Hell on themselves!
It should be blocked anyway. This media consolidation has to stop or else ultimately there will be a monopoly of media across the globe.
But can’t you see AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson renegotiating the $85B down for a much weaker Time Warner after CNN’s value tanks? Talk about “it’s all about the deal”, wow!
Or CNN creates such a mess and degrades its value thru these shenanigans that AT&T sees the wisdom of selling or spinning off the cable news part of the portfolio.
Remember that only about 1/3 of CNN’s revenue comes from ads. That’s why they really don’t care what viewers think - they make their money by just showing up on your cable network. From an “undisclosed source” in the broadcast industry:
“In 2014 (the latest year for which I have full data), CNN brought in a daily average of 340,000 viewing households (Im using households, not viewers here, as youll soon see why). But during 2014, an average of 96.6 million households subscribed to CNN, each paying an average of $7.32 per year. That equated to $710 million in revenues from cable-TV customers, 63 percent of all of CNNs revenues for the year. This is money CNN earned regardless of the fact that most paying it rarely if ever tuned in.”
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