AT&T chmn/CEO Randall Stephenson said his company’s $85bln takeover of Time Warner is a vertical merger and that as more information on the deal emerges, opposition would go away. Speaking during an interview on CNBC, Stephenson dismissed speculation that AT&T might have to spin off CNN in order to get the transaction approved. “I don’t know why we’d even talk about that… It doesn’t seem relevant to approving a deal like this. What would be the competitive issue that you’re remedying with spinning off CNN? There are not competitive issues with owning CNN,” the exec said.