AT&T-Time Warner deal will receive DOJ's approval, says former Verizon Wireless CEO

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DOJ could file a lawsuit against AT&T ahead of Time Warner merger. Here's why.

Former Verizon Wireless CEO Denny Strigl reacts to news that AT&T could face a ‘major lawsuit’ if it does not sell off HBO or Turner ahead of a possible merger with Time Warner.

Former Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Wireless CEO Denny Strigl on Thursday told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto that AT&T’s (NYSE:T) proposed acquisition of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) will most likely receive approval from the U.S. government, allowing the deal to move forward.

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“I think the deal goes through Neil, yeah. My guess is there will be some limitations, some restrictions, some side agreements that are reached. It’s unconceivable to me that the deal doesn’t go through,” Strigl said on FOX Business’ “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly informed AT&T that it would block the $85 billion takeover of Time Warner unless it sells off DirecTV or CNN, a network frequently criticized by President Trump.

Strigl, who has worked on over 100 acquisitions with the DOJ, said he doesn’t believe that the sale of CNN as a condition of approving the deal is coming from the president.

“There must be something that really concerns them and their career people at the DOJ,” he said.

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AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement that the telecommunications giant has “no intention” of selling CNN.

“Until now, we've never commented on our discussions with the DOJ,” Stephenson said on Wednesday. "But given DOJ's statement this afternoon, it's important to set the record straight. Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so."

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Strigl said the AT&T-Time Warner deal and the acquisition of NBCUniversal by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are closely related because of the conditions attached by the DOJ.

“[Comcast] agreed…that the content that flows through Comcast would be treated in the same way” as competitors of NBCUniversal, he said.

Comcast acquired full ownership of NBCUniversal in 2013, when it bought out General Electric (NYSE:GE) for $16.7 billion.

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