Justice Department suing AT&T to block purchase of Time Warner

21 November, 2017, 01:27 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • President Donald Trump pledged as a candidate that he would never allow AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner to be completed and now his Justice Department is poised to sue to block

The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, legally challenging a $85 billion deal that would give the telecom giant control of a media empire including CNN, Warner Brothers, HBO, and other major media brands.

AT&T and Time Warner announced their $85 billion merger past year but the closing has been dragged out by the government's anti-trust review.

The Justice Department official also warned that such a merger could allow AT&T to slow down advances in technology that would cut costs for consumers. More recently, deal progress was delayed as the DOJ antitrust head, Makan Delrahim worked with AT&T on competitive remedies.

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The statement from AT&T came ahead of an expected announcement from the US Justice Department.

The company reiterated that vertical mergers of this type are routinely approved.

On Monday, AT&T's general counsel David McAtee called the DOJ lawsuit "a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent". A similar Comcast/NBC Universal merger in 2011 went through with some conditions attached.

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The DoJ had been said to be mulling such an action since earlier this month, with some expressing concern that the move was politically motivated given President Donald Trump's intermittent social media attacks on CNN, Time Warner's flagship news network.

The Trump administration has had a strained relationship with the news network. AT&T and Time Warner are not direct competitors. The officials said they flatly rejected the offer. AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson countered those reports the next day, saying he'd never been under pressure from the DOJ to sell CNN.

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