Monday, November 20, 2017

U.S. DoJ moves to block AT&T + Time Warner merger

The U.S. Department of Justice will file a legal case to block the proposed AT&T + Time Warner merger.

It has been nearly 13 months since AT&T first announced its intention to acquire Time Warner. The companies said the reason for the deal is to combine Time Warner's vast library of content and ability to create new premium content with AT&T's extensive customer relationships, world’s largest pay TV subscriber base, and leading scale in TV, mobile, and broadband distribution.

Time Warner, which was formed in 1990 through the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications, encompasses a number of premium media properties, including HBO, New Line Cinema, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network, Warner Bros., CNN, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Animation, Castle Rock Entertainment, Cartoon Network Studios, Esporte Interativo, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It also owns 10% of Hulu.

In response to the DoJ suit,  David R. McAtee II, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel, AT&T stated: “Today’s DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent. Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market. We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently. 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.”

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