The Department of Justice cites antitrust concerns as the reason behind its move.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Monday to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, amid growing concerns that President Trump pressured the Justice Department to block the$85 billion mergers as a punitive measure against CNN -a media thorn on the President’s side, frequently labeled as Fake News by the President – and to force AT&T to sell CNN.
The DOJ denies any pressures from the President even though Trump has repeatedly expressed contempt and ridiculed CNN’s coverage of him and his administration and has expressed a negative opinion of the deal since the companies announced it a little over a year ago. Let’s not forget that shortly after the merger announcement in October 2016, then-candidate Trump told a crowd of supporters a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., that his administration would block the deal because it would place “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
“This merger would greatly harm American consumers. It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy,” –
said Makan Delrahim, the head of the department’s antitrust division.
“Today’s DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent,” AT&T said in a statement. “We are confident that the Court will reject the Government’s claims and permit this merger under longstanding legal precedent.”
“Our merger combines Time Warner’s content and talent with AT&T’s TV, wireless and broadband distribution platforms. The result will help make television more affordable, innovative, interactive and mobile. Fortunately, the Department of Justice doesn’t have the final say in this matter. Rather, it bears the burden of proving to the U.S. District Court that the transaction violates the law. We are confident that the Court will reject the Government’s claims and permit this merger under longstanding legal precedent.”
The Justice Department and AT&T will now be battling each other in court in a process that could take months and even longer to results that are hard to predict.
A representative for Time Warner couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
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