AT&T Faces US Antitrust Suit Over Time Warner Deal

21 November, 2017, 01:24 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Justice Department Calls AT&T Deal for Time Warner'Illegal and'Harmful to Consumers

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 Justice Department on Monday sued to hinder AT&T's $85.4 billion offer for Time Warner, setting up a standoff over the main blockbuster obtaining to precede the Trump organization.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the idea his company would be too powerful after the deal "borders on the comical".

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Last week, the Justice Department had approached 18 state attorneys general asking them to join the challenge of the deal, but as of Monday none had publicly agreed to do so, Reuters reported.

The deal announced more than a year ago would merge vast content of Time Warner units like premium cable channel HBO and news channel CNN with the massive internet and pay TV delivery networks of AT&T. "It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy".

The lawsuit would be the first time in decades the DOJ has sued to block a so-called "vertical deal" between two companies that aren't direct competitors.

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Amazon invented the category in 2015 with the Echo, and there are now similar options available from Google, Microsoft and Sonos. Although Siri was early to the voice assistant party, the company is late to the smart speaker trend.

Consumer advocates have also been advocating against the approval of the merger, warning about the harms of continued consolidation in the telecom and media industries.

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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