AT&T gets breathing room in antitrust fight over Time Warner

30 Novembre, 2017, 12:55 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • The government wants to wait until May after a merger deadline. In new court papers AT&T also says the government is looking to shield competitors like Netflix Google Facebook and Apple from competition

In a joint court filing, the companies focused on rebutting government efforts to show that AT&T, which owns pay-TV provider DirecTV, would raise rates for rival pay-TV companies to use Time Warner's movies and TV shows.

It's not really surprising, considering that the merger would give the telecommunications company access to Time Warner's vast media properties, including HBO and Warner Brothers.

AT&T said in a SEC filing that it intends to "vigorously contest" the DoJ's allegations and is confident that the court will reject the challenge to the merger. They speak on "Bloomberg Technology". The government has had "ample time already to investigate its case", the lawyers for AT&T and Time Warner added.

The takeover was first agreed in October 2016 and was previously expected to close by the end of 2017.

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But AT&T argues that the DOJ seems to be ignoring a major source of competition.

AT&T and Time Warner are fighting back. "AT&T/DirecTV's combination with Time Warner is unlawful, and absent an adequate remedy that would fully prevent the harms this merger would cause, the only appropriate action for the Department of Justice is to seek an injunction from a federal judge blocking the entire transaction". "It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy", said Delrahim in a statement. Its lawyers called the case an "abrupt departure from precedent" in its response to the government's suit, which they also filed Tuesday. Rumors swirled that the DOJ had not been able to come to terms with AT&T, and that the Justice Department was demanding that the company sell off significant assets to make the deal happen.

Addressing concerns that AT&T would withhold its content from other video distributors, AT&T and Time Warner pledged to offer arbitration to competitors if they disagreed with distribution agreements, and promised to never "go dark" in the middle of such negotiations. Some observers say the feds' opposition is related to President Trump's neverending feud with CNN. Since taking office, Trump has continued to attack the network and says he continues to oppose the deal.

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