AT&T to ask for White House, DOJ communications if Feds sue to block Time Warner purchase: Report

President Donald Trump listens to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson during the 'American Leadership in Emerging Technology' event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Donald Trump listens to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson during the ‘American Leadership in Emerging Technology’ event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Thursday, June 22, 2017.

AT&T will seek access to communications between the White House and Justice Department about the Time Warner deal if the government sues to block the $85 billion takeover, Bloomberg reports, citing sources.

The two companies declined to comment on the report. Representatives from both the White House and Department of Justice denied they had communicated about the deal.

“No one from the White House instructed me as to this or any other transaction within the Antitrust Division’s authority,” Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for antitrust, said in a statement relayed to CNBC by the White House.

“The President did not speak with the Attorney General about this matter, and no White House official was authorized to speak with the Department of Justice on this matter,” Raj Shah, White House principal deputy press secretary, said in a separate statement.

AT&T announced the takeover last fall, but the deal has yet to close. Last week, reports alleged that in order for the Justice Department to approve the sale, CNN would have to be sold. Critics have said the White House weighed in against the deal, noting that President Donald Trump has often tweeted his criticism of CNN as a purveyor of fake news.

The Justice Department has pushed back on the allegation it would require the sale of CNN. A government official familiar with the discussions told CNBC that in order for the deal to go through, the Justice Department has suggested AT&T sell its subsidiary DirecTV or Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting unit, which owns CNN.

AT&T CEO and Chairman Randall Stephenson also said in a statement last week the company has “no intention” of selling CNN.

Read the full Bloomberg story here.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox and Tae Kim contributed to this report.

Read Story

Can't Get Enough NewsReportOnline?

Sign up for NewsReportOnline newsletter and get the latest news straight to your inbox!