Justice Department appeals approval of AT&T / Time Warner merger

Dwayne Harmon
July 15, 2018

AT&T completed the deal shortly after. The potential ramifications here are huge and involve several entities, not to mention the precedent it could set.

The Justice Department filed a notice of appeal of a federal judge's decision last month that paved the way for AT&T to acquire Time Warner.

The court's decision to let AT&T and Time Warner go through this agreement was seen as a controversial move by many, so it'll be fascinating to see where the next steps of the appeal process take us.

The Department of Justice plans to appeal a judge's ruling that let AT&T purchase Time Warner. The case has been closely watched because it's the first time in decades a court has decided a merger of companies that operate in a different parts of a supply chain.

AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on Thursday at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, that the company was not surprised about the Justice Department's decision to appeal.

CNN has always been a target for Trump, calling the Time Warner-owned news network "fake news".

Donald Trump said he opposed the deal prior to his election as United States president, while consumer groups have also voiced concerns over a concentration of power. The Justice Department still had 60 days, however, to appeal the decision approving the merger.

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The ruling was a significant defeat for the US Justice Department, which had argued the deal would lead to less competition and higher consumer prices.

AT&T is a phone, cable and satellite company, and the biggest pay TV provider in the U.S. - claiming about 25 million of the approximately 90 million U.S. households that are pay TV customers. AT&T asserted during the trial that it needed to grow to survive in the era of Google, Amazon and Netflix.

Watch AT&T trade in real time here.

Already the ruling has started opening the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution.

Disney has bid $71 billion for the Fox assets, but Comcast had been expected to make an additional counter-offer.

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

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