The US DoJ May Be Appealing the AT&T-Time Warner Merger Trial

Devin Lawrence
July 15, 2018

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

David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said the company would be defending the initial decision and admitted being surprised by the DoJ's decision to appeal.

Per CNBC, Leon noted in his 200-page appeal filing that "the government failed to meet its burden to establish that the deal would significantly decrease competition".

The two companies closed the deal days later. 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 company said in court papers filed last month that it will maintain that structure until the earlier of February 28 of next year or the conclusion of the government's appeal.

The Justice Department's appeal is lodged with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a step up from the federal district court where the six-week trial unfolded in the spring. When the deal was announced nearly three weeks before the 2016 election, then Republican nominee Donald Trump rejected the transaction by stating, "It's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

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Speaking to reporters at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said his company was expecting the Justice Department to appeal, but are prepared and "not worried" about it.

Watch AT&T trade in real time here.

AT&T had already moved to consolidate control over its properties. Prosecutors argued that AT&T could inflate the price of HBO for other content distributors.

That apparently wasn't enough, however, to satisfy the Justice Department. The day after Leon delivered his ruling, Comcast made a $65 billion offer for 21st Century Fox, in an attempt to outbid Disney for Fox's entertainment assets.

Waiting in the wings are potential big-billions deals involving Verizon and CBS and T-Mobile and Sprint.

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