AT&T Time Warner merger to be appealed


The potential ramifications here are huge and involve several entities, not to mention the precedent it could set.

The Justice Department is appealing a judge's ruling approving the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, according to court documents filed Thursday.

"The court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned", AT&T's general counsel, David McAtee, said Thursday.

The two companies closed the deal days later.

Among 19 analysts covering AT&T Inc (NYSE:T), 6 have Buy rating, 2 Sell and 11 Hold. President Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, repeatedly expressed reservations about the deal, which includes ownership of CNN, the news network that frequently draws Trump's ire. The Justice Department had agreed not to seek an emergency court order preventing the deal from closing after AT&T promised to operate Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting as a separate business unit until 2019. "I do not believe that the Government has a likelihood of success on the merits of an appeal", he said in his June 12 ruling.

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Donald Trump said he opposed the deal prior to his election as USA president, while consumer groups have also voiced concerns over a concentration of power.

Last November, the Justice Department sued to block the takeover on antitrust grounds, prompting the legal battle.

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.

Delrahim and DOJ-Antitrust's suit against the AT&T-Time Warner merger bucked this trend, seeking to establish a norm against some vertical integration in the era of tech giants that increasingly offer products up and down the supply chain.

AT&T had already moved to consolidate control over its properties. That could cause consumers to have to pay higher prices for content. The merger preceded Comcast's $65 billion bid for 21st Century Fox's assets.