AT&T Could Get $50 Billion for an Asset It Doesn't Want to Sell

AT&T CEO Says He Won't Sell CNN in Time Warner Bid

AT&T Inc. and the U.S. Justice Department are tussling over whether the telecommunications giant should have to sell assets to complete its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. Here’s what some of the pieces might fetch if AT&T relents:

AssetEstimated value
Turner (owner of CNN, TNT, TBS)$50 billion
DirecTVless than $67 billion acquisition price
CNN alone$9 billion
HBOmore than $35 billion
Hulu stake of 10%$500 million
Sources: Bloomberg Intelligence, Roe Equity Research, Macquarie Capital

Sales of individual assets have come up in talks between the companies and Justice Department officials, according to people familiar with the matter. The government officials brought up the idea of divesting either DirecTV, the satellite provider, or Turner, one of the people said. Another person said AT&T floated the idea of selling CNN and was rejected -- though AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson says that never happened.

CNN has become a lightning rod because President Donald Trump has criticized the network for its coverage of his administration.

Analysts are skeptical that AT&T would be willing to part with any of the assets, and people familiar with the matter said the company is willing to fight the Justice Department in court if the agency sues to block the deal.

“I can’t imagine why AT&T would want to sell any of the crown jewels,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG LLC.

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