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US demands CNN sale as price for AT&T-Time Warner approval
卖掉CNN:美国司法部对AT&T收购时代华纳开条件

知情人士称,美国司法部告诉AT&T,它若想获准以845亿美元收购时代华纳,必须答应把时代华纳旗下的有线新闻频道CNN卖掉。

AT&T has been told by the US Department of Justice that it needs to sell CNN, Time Warner’s cable news channel, to gain approval for its $84.5bn acquisition of the media company, according to three people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

直接了解相关谈判的三名人士透露,美国司法部(DoJ)告诉AT&T,它若想获准以845亿美元收购媒体公司时代华纳(Time Warner),必须答应把时代华纳旗下的有线新闻频道CNN卖掉。

The sale of CNN, which President Donald Trump has fiercely criticised as “fake news”, is just one of the demands being made by the US antitrust authority in order to sign off on the deal, those involved in the talks said. But it could prove a stumbling block.

参与商谈的人士表示,出售CNN只是美国反垄断机构为批准这笔交易而列出的要求之一。但这个要求可能被证明是一块绊脚石。唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)总统曾猛烈抨击CNN做“假新闻”。

AT&T is opposed to selling the TV network and is preparing to take the Trump administration to court, arguing the deal with Time Warner does not pose any threat to competition.

AT&T反对出售该电视网络,并准备在法庭上挑战特朗普政府,主张其与时代华纳的交易不会对竞争构成任何威胁。

“It’s all about CNN,” said one person with direct knowledge of the talks between the company and the DoJ, adding that the regulator had made clear to AT&T that the deal would go through if it sold CNN.

“这件事的症结完全在于CNN。”直接了解AT&T与美国司法部之间商谈的一名人士称。此人补充说,这家监管机构已向AT&T明确表示,如果出售CNN,这笔交易就能获批。

At the end of last month, the companies said they expected to close the deal by year’s end, but John Stephens, AT&T’s chief financial officer, told a New York conference yesterday “the closing of the deal is now uncertain” — though he declined to go into detail about what had changed. Mr Stephens added that a “vertical merger like this hasn’t been blocked for over 40 years”.

上月底,两家公司表示,他们预计最迟在年底完成交易,但AT&T首席财务官约翰•斯蒂芬斯(John Stephens)昨日在纽约的一个会议上表示,“这笔交易的完成现在不确定”,尽管他拒绝详细说明发生了什么变化。斯蒂芬斯补充称,“这类垂直合并已有40多年未曾被阻止”。

Neither Time Warner nor AT&T would comment on the CNN sale. The justice department did not respond to a request for comment.

时代华纳和AT&T都没有评论出售CNN一事。美国司法部没有回应记者的置评请求。

Mr Trump has not hidden his opposition to the deal, which had cleared regulatory hurdles in other countries and had been widely expected to be signed off by Washington. During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump had promised to reject the acquisition outright, saying it concentrated too much media control into a single corporate entity.

特朗普没有隐瞒他对这笔交易的反对,该交易已经通过了其他国家的监管审批,此前普遍预期会获得华盛顿批准。在竞选总统期间,特朗普曾承诺要彻底否决这一收购,称它把太大一部分媒体的控制权集中于一个公司实体。

But Makan Delrahim, the new head

但是司法部新的反垄断司司长马肯•德尔拉希姆(Makan Delrahim)的态度更加和缓,他在上任前表示,他不相信这一合并构成“重大反垄断问题”。

of the justice department’s antitrust division, has been more conciliatory, saying before taking office that he did not believe the merger posed a “major antitrust problem”.

这笔交易在去年宣布后,德尔拉希姆曾对加拿大的一家电视台表示:“它的绝对规模,以及它是媒体这个事实,我认为会引起很多关注。然而,我不会把它视为一个重大反垄断问题。”

“The sheer size of it, and the fact that it’s media, I think will get a lot of attention,” Mr Delrahim told a Canadian TV station last year after the deal was announced. “However, I don’t see this as a major antitrust problem.”

直接了解反垄断谈判的不止一名人士表示,德尔拉希姆在上任后改变了看法。

People with direct knowledge of the antitrust negotiations said Mr Delrahim changed his view after taking office.

另一位了解讨论情况的人士透露,出售CNN是美国司法部列出的两项要求之一。此人表示,这些要求是“完全不合理的”,而且“完全违背了法律的指导原则”。

The CNN divestiture is one of two demands the DoJ has made, according to another person with knowledge of the discussions. The demands are “completely unreasonable” and “a complete perversion of the guidelines of the law”, the person said.

这笔交易最初定于上月失效,但上周AT&T宣布在其等待批准的同时,将终止期限推迟了“一小段时间”。当时该公司表示,它预计该交易最迟在今年底完成。

The deal was originally set to expire last month but last week AT&T extended its termination deadline “for a short period” while it waited for approval. At the time the company said it expected the transaction to close by the end of this year.

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