October 17, 2018
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has slated Dec. 6 the date for oral arguments in the Justice Department’s legal challenge of the AT&T/Time Warner merger.
The DOJ in July filed an appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s ruling that the $85 billion merger was not anticompetitive or detrimental to consumers without spinning off select assets, including Turner and CNN, which the government had sought.
“If AT&T is permitted to control Time Warner’s most valuable media assets, the merged firm will have both the incentive and the ability to raise its rivals’ costs and stifle growth of innovation, next-generation entrants that offer attractive alternatives to AT&T/DirecTV’s legacy pay-TV model – all to the detriment of American consumers,” said the Justice Department.
AT&T, which consummated the merger – including rollout of WarnerMedia – two days after Leon’s ruling, said the judge was thorough in his decision.
“[Leon] could hardly have been more thorough, fact-cased, and well-reasoned,” AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement.