Trump DOJ attractive judge of the merger of AT & T-Time Warner | Deal – tech2.org

Trump DOJ attractive judge of the merger of AT & T-Time Warner | Deal



WASHINGTON (AP) – Disturbed by a federal judge's dismissal of his objections to AT & T's megafuente with Time Warner, the Trump Justice Department challenges the decision with a legal appeal.

The Justice Department said in a one-sentence document Thursday appeals last month's ruling by district judge Richard Leon, who blessed one of the biggest media deals after a historic antitrust trial.

Leon rejected the government's argument that the pay giant and the $ 81 billion acquisition of the entertainment conglomerate would hurt competition, limit options and raise prices for consumers to broadcast television and movies.

Leon's ruling allowed Dallas-based AT & T Inc. to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio "Game of Thrones," coveted sports program and other "must see" shows.

The Justice Department's appeal is filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Circu is one step ahead of the federal district court where the six-week trial took place in the spring.

The merger was quickly consummated, only two days after León's June 12 ruling and almost as soon as the Justice Department said it would not. Do not try to temporarily block the merger while considering an appeal. The deadline for closing the merger was June 21.

Some legal experts believe that the government may have difficulty convincing the appeals court to overturn Leon's ruling. Opposing the merger forced the federal antitrust regulators to argue against the permanent legal doctrine that favors mergers between companies that do not directly compete with each other.

That type of combination is called vertical merging.

It was the first time in decades the government had challenged that doctrine by suing to block a vertical merger.

León "did everything possible to put it to the test," said Fiona Schaeffer, an antitrust attorney at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. Still, the Justice Department apparently believes it has an adequate legal basis to show an error in Leon's ruling, Schaeffer said.

"I think the Justice Department believes that this is a really important case that will influence the legal standard for vertical mergers badysis in the 21st century," he said. "They have put a lot of resources to challenge this vertical merger in a full trial on the merits, they have already done a great job on the case, and the attractive opinion (Leon) will be an incremental effort with significant potential."

For its part, AT & T said on Thursday that it is ready to defend Leon's ruling against the government's appeal.

"The court's decision could hardly have been more exhaustive, based on facts and well reasoned," said the company's general counsel, David McAtee, in a statement. "While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the (Department of Justice) has chosen to do so under these circumstances." We are ready to defend the court's decision. "

From the tribunal, Leon had urged the government not to request the cessation of the agreement, saying that it would bring "a manifestly unjust result." The deadline could be ignored, allowing under the merger agreement for either company to abandon the deal and forcing AT & T to pay Time Warner a "separation" fee of $ 500 million.

AT & T is a gigantic telephone, cable and satellite that became the largest provider of pay television in the US with its acquisition of DirecTV in 2014. It claims around 25 million of the 90 million American households that are pay television customers.

The merger fuses a company that produces news and entertainment with one that channels that programming to consumers. AT & T said during the trial that it needed to grow to survive in the age of Google, Amazon and Netflix.

When the agreement was made public for the first time in October 2016, it provoked the fire of then-candidate Donald Trump, who promised to kill "because it is too much concentration of power in the hands of very few." Trump has fought publicly with the CNN of Time Warner, calling it "failed" and providing "false news". The president's statements did not appear during the trial, although his antipathy emerged in the background.

AT & T has committed to certain conditions under which Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, will run. For example, it will administer Turner's networks as part of a separate business unit, separate from the operations of AT & T Communications, which includes DirecTV and U-verse.

In addition, AT & T Communications will have no say in setting Turner prices or other terms in contracts with companies that distribute their content.

However, apparently that was not enough to satisfy the Department of Justice.

The ruling has already begun to open the floodgates to face the changes in the world of entertainment. production and distribution.

One day after Leon ruled, Comcast launched a $ 65 billion cash offer for most of 21st Century Fox, surpbading Disney's $ 52.5 billion offer in December.

Waiting on the wings are great -millions of deals involving Verizon and CBS and T-Mobile and Sprint.

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