Justice Department appeals AT&T-Time Warner merger

Justice Department Appeals AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision

Justice Department Appeals AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision

The U.S. Justice Department today filed a notice of appeal, indicating that they planned to continue fighting AT&T's now-completed acquisition of Time Warner. Rest assured, this battle is far from over.

Judge Richard Leon, who presided over the lawsuit the DOJ had brought to block the deal, ruled last month that the government had failed to show that the deal violates antitrust law, and in his opinion ripped apart its case.

"The Court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned", McAtee said in a statement. "We are ready to defend the court's decision".

The Justice Department opted in June not to seek an immediate stay of the court's approval of the merger, allowing the deal to close on June 14.

During the trial, the DOJ argued the vertical merger, a merger between two companies in the same industry but at different stages of the business, would reduce competition and hurt consumers by allowing the company to have greater control in negotiations with programmers.

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment on the filing. The merger was swiftly consummated, just two days after Leon's June 12 ruling and nearly as soon as the Justice Department signaled it wouldn't seek to temporarily block the merger while it pondered an appeal. The merger fuses a company that produces news and entertainment with one that funnels that programming to consumers. Trump has publicly feuded with Time Warner's CNN, calling it "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news".

AT&T is a phone, cable and satellite company, and the biggest pay TV provider in the U.S. - claiming about 25 million of the approximately 90 million USA households that are pay TV customers.

It has committed to certain conditions under which it will run Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN. This decision to appeal could have been made at the highest levels of the Trump administration.

Delrahim and DOJ-Antitrust's suit against the AT&T-Time Warner merger bucked this trend, seeking to establish a norm against some vertical integration in the era of tech giants that increasingly offer products up and down the supply chain.