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techkenyot.com July 18, 2018


Justice Department Appeals AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision

14 July 2018, 11:18 | Hattie Nash

Justice Department appeals AT&T-Time Warner merger | TheHill

Justice Department Appeals AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision

The department's antitrust division filed a notice of appeal Thursday in Washington federal court.

Speaking to reporters at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said his company was expecting the Justice Department to appeal, but are prepared and "not worried" about it. The deadline for closing the merger was June 21. The DOJ has been pressing Leon to publicly release the transcripts of numerous sidebar conferences he had with lawyers on both sides, which has raised some speculation that the government will raise issues over some of the judge's evidentiary rulings. The Justice Department had argued the deal would harm consumers. That type of combination is called a vertical merger.

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A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment on the filing. AT&T was sued by the Justice Department, but won approval from a judge to move forward with the deal in June following a six-week trial.

"They have the right to appeal". "We are ready to defend the Court's decision at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals". From the bench, Leon had urged the government not to ask for a halt to the deal, saying it would bring "a manifestly unjust outcome".

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Instead he backed AT&T's claims that the merger would allow the companies to marry the telecom giant's trove of consumer data with Time Warner content in order to deliver targeted advertising - a market that's now dominated by web giants like Facebook and Google. The transition to streaming services, away from traditional cable, is one that's costing pay TV companies millions of subscribers and billions in revenue every year. It claims about 25 million of the 90 million or so US households that are pay-TV customers. The merger fuses a company that produces news and entertainment with one that funnels that programming to consumers. When the deal was announced nearly three weeks before the 2016 election, then Republican nominee Donald Trump rejected the transaction by stating, "It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few". Trump has publicly feuded with Time Warner's CNN, calling it "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news". AT&T has committed to certain conditions under which it will run Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN. AT&T countered that the government's economic model was riddled with flaws and that the deal will enable AT&T and Time Warner to more effectively compete against companies such as Netflix Inc.

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