Justice Department appealing court ruling

14 July, 2018, 11:17 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Justice Department appeals approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal

Rest assured, this battle is far from over.

"The court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based and well-reasoned", the company's general counsel, David McAtee, said in a statement.

The Justice Department opted in June not to seek an immediate stay of the court's approval of the merger, allowing the merger to close on June 14, though the Justice Department still had 60 days to appeal the decision approving the merger.

On June 15, AT&T officially completed its purchase of Time Warner following months of debating the acquisition in court.

If the US Department of Justice (DoJ) wins the appeal, the $US85.4 billion ($115.2 billion) deal will have to be unwound.

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on Thursday (local time) that the company was not surprised about the DoJ's decision to appeal. 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.

Spokespeople for the DOJ declined to comment.

Critics argued that the deal is not materially dissimilar to the NBC Universal/Comcast deal that already went through a few years ago, and some analysts argued that Time Warner was being singled out for enforcement due to U.S. President Donald Trump's dislike for the Time Warner-owned CNN. 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 behemoth that became the biggest pay-TV provider in the USA with its acquisition of DirecTV in 2014. AT&T asserted during the trial that it needed to grow to survive in the era of Google, Amazon and Netflix.

With control over a significant portion of the content, AT&T is now in a good place to keep prices high among rivals and prevent streaming TV services from offering cut-price cable alternatives.

Media commentators suggested Trump was critical of the deal because of his antipathy for CNN, which has lambasted his presidency and is a regular target for his Twitter attacks.

Stay tuned at Heroic Hollywood for more updates on the merger between AT&T and Time Warner. The day after Leon delivered his ruling, Comcast made a $65 billion offer for 21st Century Fox, in an attempt to outbid Disney for Fox's entertainment assets.



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