Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

DOJ appeals judge's approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal

DOJ appeals judge's approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal DOJ appeals judge's approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal
Nellie Chapman | 15 July, 2018, 07:19

"AT&T and Time Warner concluded that each had a problem the other could solve", he wrote. 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.

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on Thursday (local time) that the company was not surprised about the DoJ's decision to appeal.

Now the case will go to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel will hear the appeal.

The Department of Justice challenged the merger on the grounds that it would restrict pay-TV competition.

No matter how the Justice Department's appeal unfolds, AT&T's completed acquisition of Time Warner could prove hard to untangle.

AT&T shares fell one per cent after the bell. When that wrapped up in the beginning of May, the DOJ proposed solutions to ensure the merger wouldn't fall afoul of anti-competitive law: Either get rid of DirecTV or Turner (which contains TNT, TBS and CNN). 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.

AT&T, which has a sizable mobile, broadband and satellite television business, said it wanted Time Warner's media assets - which include TV networks HBO and CNN - to better compete with rivals such as Netflix and Amazon. (NYSE:TWX). The New York-based 683 Capital Mngmt Ltd Liability Co has invested 1.67% in Time Warner Inc.

In addition, AT&T Communications will have no say in setting Turner's prices or other terms in contracts with companies that distribute its content.

In addition to raising prices, AT&T has also "more than doubled the mysterious "administrative fee" it tacks on to most of its wireless bills, and raised the price of some of its wireless plans while removing the HBO subscription that it had previously included", he said.