Saturday, August 5, 2017

Report: AT&T May Sell CNN After Merger

There are rumblings at the highest executive levels that AT&T’s top executives are considering divesting some Time Warner assets like CNN and celebrity gossip site TMZ — after they merge, reports

AT&T expects the Justice Department to approve its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, and for the deal to close, by year end.

CBS has long had its eye on CNN. The broadcast company’s CEO, Les Moonves, said at Herb Allen’s Sun Valley retreat last month that he would be interested if the cable news network became available. Neither CBS or AT&T would comment.

This would be a good time to sell CNN. News networks are enjoying some of their best ratings ever as the public feasts on daily updates about the Trump administration. CNN recently had its most-watched Q2 ever.

Time Warner doesn’t offer financials for individual networks. But this week the company cited CNN’s strong performance as a factor that helped to lift Q2 revenues at the Turner networks operation by 3%, to $3.1 billion, in an otherwise difficult quarter for cable channels.

CNN would enable CBS News to expand its international reach and distribution. Blending CBS News with CNN would enable the company to cut duplication, and develop additional opportunities to showcase its journalists and their work. That strategy appears to be working at Comcast’s NBCUniversal, where people and programs frequently cross between NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo.

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