Justice Department Appeals AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision
15 July, 2018, 17:32
The US government is to appeal the recent ruling that gave the go-ahead for telecoms firm AT&T to complete its US$85.4bn acquisition of Time Warner, parent company of Warner Bros, HBO, Turner and CNN.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of on June 12, in a definitive opinion that rejected all of the government's arguments. DOJ's willingness to appeal, however, indicates a confidence in their case and may lead to much more definitive and precedent-setting ruling in the D.C. Circuit.
During the trial the Justice Department argued that the merger could raise prices for consumers and for the companies' rivals, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. "The government has had this merger on hold, the video programming and distribution industry has continued to evolve at a breakneck pace".
No matter how the Justice Department's appeal unfolds, AT&T's completed acquisition of Time Warner could prove hard to untangle. He said from the bench, "The court has now spoken".
Trump had previously denounced the AT&T deal, vowing that his administration would block it because it would concentrate corporate power unacceptably.
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Stay tuned at Heroic Hollywood for more updates on the merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
"The department's antitrust division filed a notice of appeal Thursday in Washington federal court", Bloomberg reports. The merger, first announced in October 2016, was also opposed by President Donald Trump.
Consumers should be heartened by the DOJ's move, says John Bergmayer, senior counsel at consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, who described the merger as "a bad deal for consumers and competition".
The decision to do so surprised analysts and AT&T.
AT&T told the Justice Department in a June 14 letter that it would manage Time Warner's Turner cable television networks as part of a separate business unit and take other steps until February 2019 or until any government appeal.
The deal between Disney and Fox is far from finalized as the latter company's shareholders still have to vote on the acquisition. Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky's independent committee of directors.
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