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

AT&T expects the Justice Department to approve its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, and for the deal to close, by year end. The telco has already named longtime exec John Stankey to be CEO of AT&T’s media properties. He’s leading the Time Warner Merger Integration Planning Team, working with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

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.

For TMZ, Deadline was told that AT&T is considering a sale to a private equity company. “They don’t want any controversy,” one source with knowledge of AT&T’s intentions says, adding that the communications giant may also be looking to sell other properties under Turner.

Read more at deadline.com …

SOURCE: Deadline – Anita Busch and David Lieberman

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