AT&T CEO Says He Won’t Mess With CNN

By Chris Ariens 

Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T, and Jeff Bewkes the CEO of Time Warner, went on morning TV to talk about their proposed $85.4 billion merger ($100 billion with debt), which would tie up CNN, HBO, Warner Bros., DirecTV, AT&T Wireless and several other content and distribution brands.

In her CNN interview Christine Romans said the two began discussions eight weeks ago “in this building” over lunch.

“As we began to talk, we just really came to an agreement that these things are converging,” said Stephenson.

Romans asked about any changes Stephenson envisions for Time Warner, specifically CNN.

“I think of a brand like CNN and the key variable of your brand is your independence,” he said. “The last thing that we want to do as AT&T is in anyway taint that in the slightest bit.”

“I don’t envision us changing a lot. This is a well-run company,” said Stephenson.

Of the potential regulatory hurdles, Stephenson said, “We’re attentive to it. This deal is unique, though. This is a true vertical integration.”

Over on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Bewkes was asked about the future of the company. “We think all or executive and all our creative people and all our journalists of course are going to stay. I’m also going to stay for at least a period of a year or two,” he said.