AT&T CEO says he won’t need to spin off CNN for the $85 billion Time Warner merger to go through

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (left) and Time Warner Inc CEO Jeff Bewkes.
Thomson Reuters

AT&T doesn’t need to get rid of CNN in order for its proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner to go through, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

In an interview with CNBC, Stephenson said spinning off CNN “doesn’t seem relevant to approving a deal like this.”

Stephenson continued with his argument that the deal is a vertical integration, meaning two different types of companies coming together without removing competition from the market.

“The market concentrations are the same. Nothing is different,” Stephenson said.

Last week, some speculated that AT&T would have to agree to spin off CNN in order to get the Time Warner deal approved, since President-elect Trump has said both publicly and privately (according to Bloomberg) that he’s not a fan of the deal. And we all know how Trump feels about CNN.

Stephenson met with Trump in New York last week, but it’s unclear what the two specifically discussed.