AT&T, the parent company of CNN, is reportedly looking to dump the mainstream media outlet from its business portfolio over predictions that the network's ratings will tank if Donald Trump is no longer president.
AT&T acquired CNN in 2018 when the telecommunications giant bought Time Warner, later rebranding the media holding company as WarnerMedia.
What are the details?
According to Fox Business senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino, AT&T is looking for potential buyers because selling CNN would help AT&T begin paying down its debt, which currently stands at more than $150 billion.
"The balance sheet over there is a real problem and that's what's fueling this. I mean look at it this way: CNN does not have Donald Trump to kick around anymore — their ratings will take a hit," Gasparino told Fox News host Tucker Carlson last Friday.
"They are owned by a company that is financially unstable — $150 billion in debt, AT&T has," he continued. "They need to cut costs."
"On the content part of AT&T, the other part is the wireless part and the distribution through satellite, that content part is not analogous to the other content that they have there — it sticks out like a sore thumb," Gasparino added of CNN.
Of course, AT&T's interest in dumping CNN indicates company executives do not see holding CNN as financially beneficial for their company over the long term.
Gasparino went on to explain that even CNN's journalists believe the media company will be sold.
"I am not a CNN hater — there are some really good journalists there — they believe they are for sale," Gasparino said.
Who are potential buyers?
Gasparino reported last month that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, could buy CNN, adding the news network to a media portfolio that already includes the Washington Post.
From Fox Business:
A person close to Bezos says as of now there is no real interest. "There has been zero talk on this," according to the source. FOX Business has not been able to confirm whether Bezos has had even informal talks on the deal or whether the speculation is simply a product of investment banker chatter which is often a catalyst for deal making even before talks commence.
Gasparino said on Fox News that Bezos buying CNN would make sense because other media organizations would likely be blocked by antitrust laws, and Bezos has the wealth for such a large transaction.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal also reported that there are interested buyers for CNN, despite the news outlet not being officially for sale — yet.
AT&T has been approached by possible buyers for CNN, but it's not for sale (right now). Lots of people in media-bi… https://t.co/q65kM8sF9k— Ben Mullin (@Ben Mullin)1603488837.0
"This rumor is real," Gasparino said on Fox News. "CNN, like a lot of media companies, it may have hit its peak hating Trump."