AT&T Ready To Probe WH Role In TW Deal

AT&T Inc. will try to dig into whether the White House influenced the Justice Department’s review of the company’s planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. if the government sues to block the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. In the event of a trial over the $85.4 billion deal, AT&T intends to seek court permission for access to communications between the White House and the Justice Department about the takeover, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.

JESSELL AT LARGE

Trump Tweets Cast Cloud Over FCC, DOJ

The president’s steady stream of anti-media rants puts government officials like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and DOJ’s Makan Delrahim in a tough spot. Every time they take an action that negatively affects a news organization that Trump has targeted, they will be accused of acting as an agent for Trump. So, why is Pai making excuses for him?

Is Murdoch Behind The AT&T-TW Meltdown?

Everyone knows the president hates CNN — but Trump’s Fox News ally also has multiple bones to pick with the proposed deal.

Behind The Dispute Over The AT&T-TW Deal

An unprecedented two-day public back-and-forth between AT&T and the Department of Justice has cast serious doubt on when — or even if — the company’s planned acquisition of Time Warner will be closed.

AT&T Still Talking With DOJ, Ready For Court

CEO Randall Stephenson disputed claims that he offered to sell CNN to win government approval of AT&T’s pending acquisition of CNN’s parent company Time Warner. “I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN. Period. And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN,” Stephenson said. But AT&T is also getting ready for a possible court battle, he said.

Sinclair Also Targeting DOJ Ownership Cap

Even if the FCC relaxes its ownership rules, Sinclair and other broadcasters would still be blocked from owning two network affiliates in many cases by Justice Department antitrust regulators who have a cap of their own. It limits a broadcaster to controlling no more than 40% of the market’s broadcast TV revenue. So, Sinclair is waging a campaign to increase that percentage by changing the way regulators define the local market.

Will It Be AT&T Vs. Govt. In Time-Warner Deal?

The Justice Department told AT&T that it wanted the telecom company to sell its DirecTV satellite unit or Time Warner’s Turner, which houses CNN, TBS and TNT, to get the deal approved. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said: “I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so.”

AT&T-TW Pressed To Sell CNN Or DirecTV

The demands from the Justice Department set up a potential battle over the fate of the pending $85.4 billion deal.

Is The AT&T-Time Warner Deal In Trouble?

Wall Street thinks so. It knocked down Time Warner shares 4% yesterday on multiple reports that antitrust regulators were preparing to challenge the merger is court — a move that could lead to blocking the deal or loading up the merged company with conditions aimed at preventing anticompetitive conduct.

DOJ Weighs Suit Against AT&T-Time Warner

The Justice Department is actively considering a lawsuit to challenge AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner, according to people familiar with the matter. The department’s antitrust division is preparing for litigation in case it decides to sue to block the deal, these people said. Simultaneously, the department and the companies are discussing possible settlement terms that would lead to the deal winning government approval with conditions attached.

Political Foes Ask AT&T-TW Be Stopped

Seven groups from both sides of the political spectrum asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner if, the groups wrote, “as it appears, [the proposed deal] would substantially harm competition, [we urge the government] not to allow it to go forward unless those harms can be effectively prevented.”

AT&T, Time Warner Extend Merger Deadline

AT&T and Time Warner have pushed out the closing deadline for their $85 billion merger as the companies are still seeking antitrust approval from the Justice Department. After the Oct. 22 deadline passed over the weekend without the deal being finalized, the companies filed with the SEC to extend the termination period for a “short period of time to facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval required to close the merger.”

AT&T-TW Merger In ‘Advanced Stage’ At DOJ

The Wall Street Journal reports that the government review of AT&T Inc.’s $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc. has reached an advanced stage, people close to the situation said, a significant milestone in a deal that was closely watched for signs of how the Trump administration would view large mergers. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.

DOJ To Meet With Reporters On Subpoenas

Justice Department officials are slated to meet with a nonprofit journalism organization on Thursday as the administration moves to revisit its rules on whether to subpoena reporters who receive classified information. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will meet with individuals in the Justice Department’s public affairs office to discuss new subpoena guidelines.

DOJ: Media Could Be Targeted Over Leaks

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced a government-wide crackdown on leakers, which will include a review of the Justice Department’s policies on subpoenas for media outlets that publish sensitive information.

AT&T In Talks With Officials For TW Approval

U.S. antitrust officials have started talking to representatives from AT&T and Time Warner about possible conditions that could secure approval of their $85.4 billion tie-up, according to people familiar with the matter. The early-stage discussions suggest that government lawyers have nearly finished their months-long look at how AT&T, the biggest pay-TV distributor, would reshape the media landscape with its bid for the owner of CNN and HBO.

Justice Drops Fight Over ‘Redskins’ Name

Rosenstein Prods Media Over Russia Probe

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued an unusual, vague statement Thursday night, casting doubt on a series of recent media reports detailing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s growing probe into the Trump campaign for potential collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign.

Gov. Spying On Journalists To Find Leakers

The Justice Department has gotten a warrant from the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — also known as the FISA court — to conduct electronic surveillance on a group of journalists who’ve been the recipient of leaked information.

Federal Probe Of Fox News Expands

The U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of Fox News has widened to include a second law enforcement agency. Financial crimes experts from the United States Postal Inspection Service are now involved, according to four sources connected to the investigation. Mail fraud and wire fraud cases are part of the USPIS purview.

Delrahim Picked To Head Antitrust At Justice

A member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, Makan Delrahim, will be nominated to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, the White House says. Delrahim is expected to move to Justice after finishing up in the White House counsel’s office, where he has worked to steer Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch through the Senate confirmation process.

AT&T, Justice Nearing Settlement On Dodgers

AT&T is negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve allegations that DirecTV executives improperly colluded with other pay-TV providers three years ago, effectively blocking carriage of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ television channel in Southern California. A settlement could come in the next two weeks.

DOJ Probes Ad Agency Production Practices

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether advertising agencies manipulated the bidding process for contracts to produce commercials in order to favor their own in-house units.

Justice Sues AT&T-DirecTV Over Dodgers Ch.

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday took the extraordinary step of suing AT&T, alleging that its DirecTV unit orchestrated an illegal campaign to block wide carriage of SportsNet LA,  the regional sports channel owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

BMI Rejects DOJ Consent Decree Finding

AP Blasts DOJ OKing Impersonation Of Journalists

UPDATED, 4:38 PM MONDAY

Charter Deal For TWC Looks Good To Go

The U.S. Justice Department approved Charter Communications’ proposed $88 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House networks on Monday. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler then circulated an order seeking approval of the deal from the five-member FCC.

Digital Divide Key To Review Of Charter Deal

Bridging the so-called digital divide — the gulf between people who have ready access to the Internet, and those like Escobar who do not — has long been a priority of President Obama. And addressing the issue has become a key component in the government’s review of Charter Communications’ proposed $67-billion plan to acquire two other cable companies — Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks — a  merger that could transform the pay TV landscape.

Risk Managers Fret Over Newsroom Liability

It’s time for the U.S. Department of Justice to clarify its new policies for investigating media newsrooms, argues Media Financial Management’s Mary M. Collins. Failing to do so means that publishers will continue to face large and uncertain expenses to protect their journalists and their reputation.

Justice Dept. OKs Gray-Schurz Transactions

Gray and Schurz have entered into a proposed consent decree with the DOJ that requires the divestiture of television stations in the Wichita, Kan., and South Bend, Ind., markets.

Justice Probing Comcast Spot Cable Ad Role

Is Comcast using its muscle as the No. 1 cable provider to restrict competition and set local pay TV ad prices? The Justice Department’s antitrust unit is looking into this, and has asked the company for information.

Comcast Under Fire For Pre-NBCU Violations

FCC and Justice Department officials have spent the past few weeks sifting through allegations that Comcast violated 2011 agreements that enabled the cable giant to buy NBCUniversal.

Comcast’s Track Record May Hurt TWC Deal

Comcast’s record of compliance is now in the spotlight as regulators, and senators like Al Franken, scrutinize its proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. The Justice Department is evaluating whether the merger is anticompetitive and is scheduled to meet with Comcast today to discuss it. The FCC is considering whether the deal is in the public interest, and regulators in New York and California are also examining it.

Justice Leaning Toward Nixing Comcast-TWC

Staff attorneys at the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block Comcast Corp.’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. Attorneys who are investigating Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concern that consumers would be harmed and could submit their review as soon as next week, said the people. The division’s senior officials will then decide whether to file a federal lawsuit seeking to block the tie-up.

Comcast Says $45B TWC Deal To Take Longer

Comcast said in a blog post Wednesday that it now expects the FCC’s review to finish in the middle of the year. It had predicted the deal would close in early 2015. The FCC has delayed its review due to a court case that is pending.

Justice Drops Murdoch Hacking Investigation

Rupert Murdoch can breath a large sigh of relief at the dissipation of a major legal threat hanging over his corporate empire. In a filing with federal securities regulators, his companies have disclosed that the U.S. Justice Department has decided not to prosecute them for possible violations of U.S. federal law. The federal investigation stemmed from the phone hacking scandal that consumed his British tabloids. A prosecution could have complicated the ability of 21st Century Fox to maintain control of its 28 U.S. television stations.

Comcast-TWC No Longer Seen As Inevitable

Comcast Corp.’s bold move to buy rival Time Warner Cable in a $45-billion deal once seemed inevitable. But that was 11 months ago — and a lot has changed. Now, it is unclear whether the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC will give Comcast their blessing.

Justice Broadens Protections For Media

In a bid to shore up his legacy on press freedom issues as he prepares to leave office, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday that he’s making some changes news media organizations had requested to Justice Department policies on investigations involving reporters.

New Govt. Guidelines For Media Leak Rules

The Justice Department announced revised guidelines for obtaining records from the news media during leak investigations, removing language that news organizations said was ambiguous and requiring additional consultation before a journalist can be subpoenaed.

Did The Feds Spy On Sharyl Attkisson?

As the former CBS reporter launches legal actions against them, the Justice Department and Postal Service strenuously deny hacking her computer and phones.