Justice Department appeals AT&T-Time Warner merger

Justice Department appeals AT&T-Time Warner merger

Justice Department appeals AT&T-Time Warner merger

The deadline could be missed, allowing under the merger agreement for either company to walk away from the deal and forcing AT&T to pay Time Warner a $500 million "breakup" fee.

The US Justice Department is set to appeal the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner, Bloomberg says, citing a court filing.

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.

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.

Leon, though, also warned against an appeal, writing in his decision "A$3 s my 170-plus page opinion makes clear - I do not believe that the Government has a likelihood of success on the merits of an appeal".

The case has been closely watched as an indicator of how courts would treat mergers of companies in different industries. 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.

Critics of the deal have argued the court approval offers an effective green light to other major deals that could end up boosting prices and hurting consumers.

AT&T closed the Time Warner transaction on June 14, two days after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling.

AT&T countered that a combined company would be better able to compete with a growing roster of online video competitors including Facebook, Google, Netflix and Apple.

Tile combination of pictures created on October 21, 2016 shows an AT&T cellphone store in Springfield, Va., and the Time Warner logo on the front of the company's headquarters building in NY.

The DoJ had claimed AT&T, which owns satellite TV platform DirecTV, could end up charging rival distributors more for Time Warner content, resulting in higher prices for consumers. The merger preceded Comcast's $65 billion bid for 21st Century Fox's assets.

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