DOJ challenge to AT&T-Time Warner deal could affect Disney and Comcast's bidding war for Fox, says AT&T's Stephenson

  • An action like the DOJ's "can obviously influence" the outcome of the bidding war between Comcast and Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said.
  • Stephenson would not say whether he thought the move by the DOJ was politically motivated.


The Department of Justice's challenge to AT&T and Time Warner's merger could affect the bidding war between Disney and Comcast for Twenty-First Century Fox, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told CNBC.

While Stephenson would not comment on whether the DOJ was trying to deter a potential Fox merger, he said, "obviously, it does affect that process.”

“You’re in a situation where two entities are bidding for an asset, and this kind of action can obviously influence the outcome of those actions," he said in Sun Valley, Idaho, where industry leaders have gathered for Allen & Co.'s annual retreat. "But who knows whether that’s behind this.”

In June, a judge approved the $85.4 billion deal, clearing the way for AT&T to acquire Time Warner and its properties including HBO, CNN and the film studio Warner Bros.

Stephenson would not comment as to whether the move by President Donald Trump's DOJ was political, but he did reiterate that the ruling in June reinforces that "at the end of the day, we feel like the law is on our side."

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.