DOJ sues AT&T bid to buy Time Warner (including CNN)

21 November, 2017, 01:25 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • The Justice Department is suing to block the AT&T - Time Warner merger, says report

This follows a period filled with reports that the DOJ demanded AT&T and Time Warner sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN.

The Justice Department sued on Monday to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner, calling it an "illegal" combination that harms consumers and stifles innovation, DOJ officials said.

DOJ officials on Monday said that they couldn't agree with the companies on an "adequate remedy" that would make the merger less anti-competitive.

"This merger would greatly harm American consumers". "It would mean higher month to month TV bills and less of the new, developing inventive choices that customers are starting to appreciate".

AT&T has argued that the deal should be approved because it combines two companies that don't directly compete against each other, resulting in a so-called vertical merger.




AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson, however, has countered that notion and said he was never under pressure to spin off CNN. Historically, it's rare for the government to successfully block vertical mergers.

AT&T responded in a statement, calling the lawsuit "a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent". Now, CNBC has reported that the DOJ has issued the suit today.

The lawsuit is the first major challenge to a merger by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized Time Warner's CNN news unit and announced his opposition to the deal previous year, saying it would concentrate too much power in AT&T's hands.

The Justice Department's lawsuit cited internal Time Warner documents that said long-term contracts to host live sporting events like college basketball and baseball would help allow it to achieve "targeted rate increases".

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