The Justice Department’s antitrust case against AT&T reached a crescendo Wednesday as government lawyers asked an economist to explain how the telecom giant’s proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner would lead to higher cable bills for consumers.
Justice Department Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim appeared in the courtroom Thursday to watch the proceedings in the government’s lawsuit to stop AT&T’s bid to purchase Time Warner as attorneys honed in on another merger: Comcast and NBCUniversal.
A little less than two weeks and eight witnesses into the trial over AT&T’s proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, and we already have a good sense of some of the issues the case — which some are calling the antitrust trial of a generation — will likely pivot around.
The Justice Department, seeking to stop AT&T Inc’s deal to purchase Time Warner Inc, sought on Monday to show how often Time Warner subsidiary Turner would threaten to cut off cable companies to win concessions during contract negotiations.
The government and AT&T clashed on Thursday as each launched their opening salvos in a far-reaching trial on the telecom giant’s proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner.
Fans will be glued to the “March Madness” college basketball tournament as the joint owner of rights for the games, Time Warner Inc, goes before a judge today to defend a proposed takeover by AT&T Inc. With some 12 million viewers per game last year, the NCAA tournament exemplifies the marquee programming the U.S. government argues will become more expensive if Time Warner is bought by AT&T, the biggest pay-TV provider via subsidiary DirecTV.
AT&T says it needs to buy Time Warner to compete with the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google in the rapidly evolving world of video entertainment. The Justice Department’s antitrust lawyers worry that consumers will end up paying more to watch their favorite shows, whether on a TV screen, smartphone or tablet.
D.C. Federal District Judge Richard Leon oversees the first day of “trial” concerning AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
The talk in media circles is focused on what happens if the AT&T deal is stopped by the government and Time Warner is forced to go it alone.
In a standoff with far-reaching implications, the government claims that the megamerger would give AT&T, which already owns the nation’s largest pay-TV provider, DirecTV, added clout to bully others, freeze out new entrants in the TV industry and increase rates for consumers. The dispute — a rare standoff in an antitrust case — will be decided by a federal judge after a trial that begins Monday in Washington, barring a last-minute settlement.