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AT&T CEO Stephenson: 'I'll still be CEO' after Time Warner acquisition

  • AT&T's Randall Stephenson calls a Bloomberg article saying he will become executive chairman after the combination "full of speculation."
  • AT&T agreed in October 2016 to buy Time Warner in a deal worth about $85 billion.
Randall Stephenson
Peter Larsen | CNBC
Randall Stephenson

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told CNBC he won't be changing his title after the telecom giant completes its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Stephenson wrote in an email to "Squawk Box" host Joe Kernen that a Bloomberg article saying he will become executive chairman after the combination is "full of speculation."

"I will not be changing my title," Stephenson added. "I'll still be CEO."

On Friday, a Bloomberg report said Stephenson would become executive chairman after the merger with Time Warner. The report also said Stephenson would oversee a pair of CEOs who would independently manage the combined company's telecommunications and media businesses.

Stephenson did not address any other aspect of the report with CNBC.

However, sources told CNBC's David Faber that Bloomberg's reporting is largely accurate about the leadership structure, but perhaps didn't get the titles right.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that AT&T plans to separate its telecom operations from its media assets after the deal closes.

AT&T executive John Stankey will be in charge on the media side, while the telecom side will be run by John Donovan, another AT&T veteran, according to the Journal and Bloomberg.

Multiple sources told Faber that current Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes will be moving on within a year of the merger's closing.

Bewkes told CNBC in October 2016, when the move was first announced, he planned to stay at the new company for one or two years.

The deal, which has been under regulatory review, is expected to close before year-end, and perhaps as soon as mid-September, people close to the deal told Faber.

In February, Stephenson told CNBC the "one-track" Justice Department review should not delay the original timetable for closing the deal.

Donald Trump, while on the presidential campaign trail last year, vowed to block the deal. Time Warner owns CNN, which Trump frequently criticizes as "fake news."

But as president, Trump's position is unclear.

— Reporting by CNBC's Joe Kernen and David Faber.