The Justice Department will appeal the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger

The Justice Department will appeal the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger

The Justice Department will appeal the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger

A court could theoretically force AT&T and Time Warner to reverse the merger. The potential ramifications here are huge and involve several entities, not to mention the precedent it could set.

The Department of Justice said Thursday it would appeal a judge's decision last month clearing AT&T to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion.

David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said the company is "ready to defend" the judge's decision.

A new trial is likely to see the U.S. government renew.

AT&T told PCMag it was "surprised" by the move.

Trump had previously denounced the AT&T deal, vowing that his administration would block it because it would concentrate corporate power unacceptably. The merger, first announced in October 2016, was also opposed by US President Donald Trump.

AT&T announced the deal in October 2016, but the USA government sued to block the merger in November 2017, saying one company having so much power over both how Americans get their entertainment (AT&T provides broadband as well as owns satellite TV service DirecTV) - and what they watch - would hurt consumers.

The government's notice of appeal, filed in US District Court in Washington, did not disclose on what grounds it intends to challenge the approval given by US District Judge Richard Leon.

Delrahim and DOJ-Antitrust's suit against the AT&T-Time Warner merger bucked this trend, seeking to establish a norm against some vertical integration in the era of tech giants that increasingly offer products up and down the supply chain.

For instance, it will manage the Turner networks as part of a separate business unit, distinct from operations of AT&T Communications.

With control over a significant portion of the content, AT&T is now in a good place to keep prices high among rivals and prevent streaming TV services from offering cut-price cable alternatives.

That apparently wasn't enough, however, to satisfy the Justice Department.

The ruling was seen as a green light for other companies to pursue mergers, and in the ensuing months, bidding wars have erupted between Comcast and Disney for big chunk of 21st Century Fox's assets.

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