AT&T Faces US Antitrust Suit Over Time Warner Deal

21 November, 2017, 01:26 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • PM ET DOJ Suing to Block AT&T-Time Warner Deal AT&T expected to say in effect'bring it

AT&T said Monday that U.S. antitrust enforcers filed suit to block its merger with Time Warner, setting up a major court battle over the US$85 billion tie-up.

"The combination of AT&T [and] DirectTV's vast distribution infrastructure, and Time Warner's extremely popular television programming would be one of the largest mergers in American history", the official added.

"The present D.O.J. claim is a radical and mystifying takeoff from many years of antitrust point of reference", AT&T's general direction, David McAtee, said in an announcement.

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.

That "combined power" would let AT&T "use its control over Time Warner's popular and valuable networks to hinder its rivals, by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute those networks", the official said.

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. "We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently". "Fortunately, the Department of Justice doesn't have the final say in this matter".

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson, however, has countered that notion and said he was never under pressure to spin off CNN. "We are sure that the court will dismiss the administration's cases and allow this merger under longstanding lawful point of reference".

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