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Jeff Bezos interested in buying CNN?

FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino provides insight into potential buyers of CNN.

The investment banking world is buzzing that the controversial chief executive of Amazon.com and owner of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, is sniffing around on a potential purchase of one of AT&T’s most valued assets, the Cable News Network, bankers tell 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. That holds especially true when deal making speculation swirls about someone of Bezos’s caliber -- the world’s richest man with a net worth of $200 billion per Forbes.

But people who follow AT&T’s 2016 purchase (the deal wasn’t completed until 2018) of TimeWarner — which married a massive content distribution company with premium content — say CNN is clearly an asset that could be shed in the months ahead, and that a deep-pocketed buyer like Bezos, with an in media, could be a suitor.

The $85 billion purchase of TimeWarner, left AT&T with tens of billions of dollars in debt, a desperate array of difficult to digest assets and some weird cultural fits. As a result, AT&T has been forced to reorganize its operations and shed parts of its empire. Its shares have fallen over 31% this year, more than rival Verizon’s 6.5% drop and the S&P 500’s 5% gain.

Rich Greenfield, a partner and media and technology analyst at independent research firm LightShed Partners, has tweeted in the past about the logic of Bezos buying CNN. “It’s not shocking to see this corporation want less exposure to the news (division) but I’m a little surprised CNN would be the only asset to be sold given they have a much stronger digital platform than the rest of Turner’s properties,” Greenfield told FOX Busines.

The veteran analyst also recently tweeted that ViacomCBS and Comcast, the parent of NBCUniversal, could be possible purchasers.

Greenfield added that while there is logic to the sale of CNN (in a recent tweet, he has called it the "only mobile/digital/social success story in legacy media and cost savings could be enormous with another news org") he said it would make more sense as part of a bigger spinoff of all of AT&T’s Turner Broadcasting division, which includes TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, in addition to CNN.



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