Published: Tue, November 21, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Department Of Justice To Sue To Block AT&T, Time Warner Merger

Department Of Justice To Sue To Block AT&T, Time Warner Merger

The Justice Department is poised to block the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, according to a Bloomberg report. "Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market".

While in office, Trump has regularly labeled CNN as "fake news" and in February his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met with Time Warner executives and voiced concerns about what the administration considered as slanted coverage from CNN.

Reports earlier this month indicated that the Justice Department had demanded that AT&T sell CNN as part of a condition for approval, drawing questions as to whether Trump's personal feelings toward the news network were influencing the Justice Department's handling of the merger.

The DOJ is filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, meaning the fate of the merger now rests with a judge.

The No. 2 USA wireless carrier struck a deal in October 2016 to buy Time Warner, which also owns the premium channel HBO and movie studio Warner Bros, in order to compete with emerging technology companies by bundling video entertainment on its mobile service.

On Monday, AT&T's general counsel David McAtee called the DOJ lawsuit "a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent". Several media outlets reported that the DOJ's announcement would involve AT&T. Both the White House and Justice Department denied politics were part of its review of the deal.

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