Over 12 months ago, Makan Delrahim was a law professor and barely knew what the future had in store for him. While speaking to a Canadian television network about the approval of AT&T’s acquiring Time Warner for $85.4 billion, he mentioned that he was optimistic that the deal would go on as planned. He didn’t see any reason why there would be an antitrust issue. Time can change a man, and for Makan Delrahim, he has changed after being appointed as the top antitrust regulator for the Justice Department. He has diverted from his original view that the deal would go through. This comes after the Justice Department warned that it would go to court to block the deal. It’s pressuring AT&T to sell major assets so that it can allow the sale to go through. His new position has surprised many people in the industry as this deal had been crucial in showing how the current administration would handle major mergers in America. Things got out of hand on Wednesday after conflicting version of the story spilled to the public. One version of the story says that the Justice Department wants the agency to get rid of Turner Broadcasting. This would include offloading CNN. This version also suggested selling of DirecTV. The other version suggests that AT&T was willing to sell CNN. This is according to people close to the deal.
However, AT$T chief executive officer Randal L. Stephenson said that the company had never contemplated about selling CNN. He further told the New York Times that the company was ready to take the issue to court. He said that the decision to sell key franchises of any business that investors are interested in could never make economic sense. It’s apparent that the spat by the public has shed a cloud on the deal. The situation is even worse considering that the Trump administration has been very critical of the deal. This has led to some Democrats raising concerns about the deal. They have even suggested for a hearing to determine whether the independent process was affected by politics. However, the Justice Department refused to comment about the issue when approached by journalists. American Antitrust Institute Diana Moss says that the move is bold and goes against the principles of Mr. Delrahim. Appearing in an interview last month, Mr. Delrahim denied accusations that the decision had been influenced by the Trump administration.