DOJ Appeals Court Ruling That Paved Way For AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Justice Department appeals approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal

Rest assured, this battle is far from over.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of AT&T-Time Warner, and while the Trump Administration didn't seem happy about it, there was no immediate indication that they would 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. "While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the (Justice Department) has chosen to do so under these circumstances". DOJ's willingness to appeal, however, indicates a confidence in their case and may lead to much more definitive and precedent-setting ruling in the D.C. Circuit.

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 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. Still, the Justice Department apparently believes it has an adequate legal basis to show an error in Leon's ruling, Schaeffer said.

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AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is already underway, so DOJ may also seek an injunction ordering the deal to halt while the appeal is decided on. It has been renamed WarnerMedia, and AT&T has rolled out a $15-a-month streaming service that heavily uses some of the content owned by WarnerMedia.

Mr Trump has publicly feuded with Time Warner's CNN, calling it "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news". AT&T asserted during the trial that it needed to grow to survive in the era of Google, Amazon and Netflix. AT&T has committed to certain conditions under which it will run Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN.

Among networks under Time Warner's umbrella are HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS.

Federal lawyers contended that the combined company would be too large and powerful, allowing it to run roughshod over other players in the entertainment and media world and to hike prices on consumers.

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