Judge clears the way for AT&T/Time Warner merger | Major Businesses | Business
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
US comms giant AT&T has won its landmark trial in $85 billion buyout of Time Warner, allowing the blockbuster deal to proceed without remedies.
merger 13 june 2018
The lawsuit was brought by the US Department of Justice, which argued that if AT&T, the nation's largest pay-TV company, acquired Time Warner — the third largest media company worldwide and owner of HBO, Turner Broadcasting, CNN and the Warner Bros studio — it would gain too much control over programming and distribution, and potentially represent an anti-trust situation.

The fear is that the merged company’s size would be such that it would impede competition from online video distributors and raise content prices on its rivals on the distribution side — all of which would translate into higher prices for consumers.

“This merger would greatly harm American consumers,” said DOJ anti-trust chief Makan Delrahim when the department filed the suit. “It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy.”

The DOJ's complaint, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, sought a permanent injunction on the merger, on the grounds that it violates the Clayton Act anti-monopoly statute.

Judge Richard Leon also said that he would deny a stay on the deal if requested by the Justice Dept, making a DOJ appeal somewhat moot.

AT&T said that it was prepared to close quickly if it got a clear greenlight in the trial, so final details are expected soon.

The decision sets the stage for more media consolidation and megamergers, which is likely music to the ears of Disney and Comcast, who are both trying to buy Fox’s media assets.