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CNN to be sold?

August 7, 2017

By Chris Forrester

According to media news outlet Deadline Hollywood, AT&T is considering selling of some assets after its $85 billion merger with Time Warner closes.

One of the possibilities is the disposal of CNN, which Deadline says is under consideration for a sale, with US ‘big three’ network CBS being a potential buyer, although gossip suggests that there would be plenty of other well-heeled buyers of CNN (and Jeff Bezos was one name mentioned) who would support the network.

However, CNN and CBS have a relationship that extends many, many years. For example, CNN’s star global affairs host, Christiane Amanpour, before working with CNN, worked with CBS’s 60 Minutes’ flagship news show.

Indeed, Ted Turner, CNN’s founder, back in 1985, tried to buy CBS in what was described at the time as an “unfriendly take-over” and this followed on from talk of a merger with CBS in 1983.

A month ago at Herb Allen’s Sun Valley gathering of medialand’s great and the good, CBS chairman Les Moonves said that he could be interested in buying CNN. Advertising trade magazine Adweek quotes Moonves (July 14) saying that while CBS was not in the market for any fresh deals at the moment, CNN had always intrigued him and he would take a long, hard look if CNN came onto the negotiating table. “If it came up later on, it would be something we would look at.”

Pew Media Research estimates that CNN (along with its CNN-Headline News, CNN-International and other language joint-venture channels), has an annual revenue stream of some $1.2 billion.

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