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US demands CNN sale as price for AT&T-Time Warner approval
賣掉CNN:美國司法部對AT&T收購時代華納開條件

知情人士稱,美國司法部告訴AT&T,它若想獲準以845億美元收購時代華納,必須答應把時代華納旗下的有線新聞頻道CNN賣掉。

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.

直接了解相關談判的三名人士透露,美國司法部(DoJ)告訴AT&T,它若想獲準以845億美元收購媒體公司時代華納(Time Warner),必須答應把時代華納旗下的有線新聞頻道CNN賣掉。

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.

參與商談的人士表示,出售CNN只是美國反壟斷機構為批準這筆交易而列出的要求之一。但這個要求可能被證明是一塊絆腳石。唐納德•特朗普(Donald Trump)總統曾猛烈抨擊CNN做「假新聞」。

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反對出售該電視網絡,並準備在法庭上挑戰特朗普政府,主張其與時代華納的交易不會對競爭構成任何威脅。

「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.

「這件事的癥結完全在於CNN。」直接了解AT&T與美國司法部之間商談的一名人士稱。此人補充說,這家監管機構已向AT&T明確表示,如果出售CNN,這筆交易就能獲批。

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,兩家公司表示,他們預計最遲在年底完成交易,但AT&T首席財務官約翰•斯蒂芬斯(John Stephens)昨日在紐約的一個會議上表示,「這筆交易的完成現在不確定」,儘管他拒絕詳細說明發生了什麼變化。斯蒂芬斯補充稱,「這類垂直合并已有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.

時代華納和AT&T都沒有評論出售CNN一事。美國司法部沒有回應記者的置評請求。

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.

特朗普沒有隱瞞他對這筆交易的反對,該交易已經通過了其他國家的監管審批,此前普遍預期會獲得華盛頓批準。在競選總統期間,特朗普曾承諾要徹底否決這一收購,稱它把太大一部分媒體的控制權集中於一個公司實體。

But Makan Delrahim, the new head

但是司法部新的反壟斷司司長馬肯•德爾拉希姆(Makan Delrahim)的態度更加和緩,他在上任前表示,他不相信這一合并構成「重大反壟斷問題」。

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」.

這筆交易在去年宣布後,德爾拉希姆曾對加拿大的一家電視台表示:「它的絕對規模,以及它是媒體這個事實,我認為會引起很多關注。然而,我不會把它視為一個重大反壟斷問題。」

「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.」

直接了解反壟斷談判的不止一名人士表示,德爾拉希姆在上任後改變了看法。

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

另一位了解討論情況的人士透露,出售CNN是美國司法部列出的兩項要求之一。此人表示,這些要求是「完全不合理的」,而且「完全違背了法律的指導原則」。

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.

這筆交易最初定於上月失效,但上周AT&T宣布在其等待批准的同時,將終止期限推遲了「一小段時間」。當時該公司表示,它預計該交易最遲在今年底完成。

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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