Justice Department appeals approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal

Justice Department appeals approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal

The US justice department announced on Thursday that it will appeal against a federal judge's decision to allow AT&T's landmark takeover of Time Warner.

The department's antitrust division filed a notice of appeal Thursday in Washington federal court.

But exactly a month ago, a district court judge decided that the government hadn't established that the deal would significantly decrease competition. In his ruling, he said the government had failed to show competitive harm.

Mr Trump has publicly feuded with Time Warner's CNN, calling it "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news". "AT&T and Time Warner concluded that each had a problem the other could solve", he wrote. "They have already done the heavy lifting on the case, and appealing (Leon's) opinion will be an incremental effort with a significant potential upside". "Everyone has the right to appeal", he said.

"I can't think of a time in recent memory when an appellate court said [the district court] got it wrong" on a merger case, said Geoffrey Manne, executive director of the International Center for Law & Economics, a Portland-based think tank. "It will be evaluated on those grounds".

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Leon dismissed their arguments and the economic forecasting they relied upon that showed the merger would raise prices for consumers and hurt competition. 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 argued, during the trial, that it needed to grow to survive in the era of Google, Amazon and Netflix. AT&T has committed to certain conditions under which it will run Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN.

Stay tuned at Heroic Hollywood for more updates on the merger between AT&T and Time Warner. That could cause consumers to have to pay higher prices for content.

Leon had sharply urged the Justice Department not to seek a stay of his ruling, saying it would be "manifestly unjust" to do so and not likely to succeed.

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