The combination of one of the country’s largest wireless carriers and TV providers with a major TV and movie company has already reshaped the media landscape. Here’s a look back at the deal, the pushback from the government and its future implications.
AT&T on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to reject the Justice Department’s challenge to its acquisition of Time Warner, saying the government had offered no basis for second guessing key conclusions of a ruling upholding the transaction.
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.
Two titans — the U.S. Justice Department and telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. — are locked in a high-stakes showdown to decide who controls some of the nation’s most popular television channels.
“AT&T is merging with Time Warner not to thwart online viewing, but to advance it, by enabling AT&T to introduce new video products better suited to mobile viewing,” the company writes in papers submitted to a federal judge in New York.
The Wall Streer Journal reports a group of 11 former Department of Justice officials has asked a judge to revisit questions about whether the White House interfered in the government’s lawsuit challenging AT&T Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. Journal subscribers can read the full story here.
The Department of Justice on Friday moved to prevent AT&T from arguing that politics played a role in the government’s decision to stop its merger with Time Warner Inc, a deal that President Donald Trump had publicly criticized. “There was no selective enforcement,” Justice Department lawyer Craig Conrath said at a pre-trial hearing. “The president is unhappy with CNN. We don’t dispute that. But AT&T wants to turn that into a get-out-jail-free card for their illegal merger.”
AT&T is demanding that the Justice Department hand over additional evidence to prove that President Trump did not wield political influence over the agency as its antitrust enforcers reviewed the company’s bid to acquire Time Warner.
The company is requesting that Makan Delrahim testify in the trial over the government’s decision to block its $85 billion merger with Time Warner, according to two people with knowledge of the pretrial activity.
AT&T and Time Warner have agreed to extend the deadline for their long-delayed merger until June 21, according to an SEC filing Thursday. The extension should allow time for a verdict in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit seeking to block the deal. The trial will begin in March. June 21 is the date when both parties can officially abandon the deal.
The judge overseeing the Justice Department’s bid to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner said Thursday that he would deny a request to tighten protections on confidential data.
Walt Disney Co joined 21st Century Fox on Wednesday in asking the judge hearing AT&T Inc’s antitrust case to strengthen an order aimed at keeping its data private if it is used at trial next year.
AT&T and the U.S. Department of Justice have been unable to resolve antitrust concerns over the pending Time Warner acquisition outside of court, according to a document filed Friday.
Splitting the difference between AT&T’s request for a trial date in February and the government’s interest in beginning as late as May, the judge in the closely watched antitrust battle said the trial will begin March 19.
At a time of rapid change and consolidation in the media industry, the Justice Department’s lawsuit over the AT&T-Time Warner combination is likely to put a pause on media deals and raise questions about this DOJ’s antitrust standards.
A day after his Justice Department sued to stop AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, President Trump weighed in on the potential impact of the deal on the country. He said he’s not going to get involved in active litigation, but then added: “Personally, I’ve always felt that that was a deal that’s not good for the country. I think your pricing is going to go up. I don’t think it’s a good deal for the country. But I’m not going to get involved. It’s litigation.”
The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T’s $85 billion bid for entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, setting the stage for one of the biggest antitrust cases to hit Washington in decades.
AT&T says it hired media lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, whose clients have included President Donald Trump, to defend its acquisition of media and entertainment company Time Warner if the government sues to block the deal.
AT&T remains in discussions with the Justice Department about the telecom giant’s planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner and is still confident it will be able to seal the deal, AT&T CFO John Stephens said at a Morgan Stanley investor conference in Barcelona on Thursday.
A swoon has left Time Warner with a market cap of $68.1 billion, well below the $85.4 billion AT&T agreed to pay for the media-entertainment conglomerate.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying today at a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, pushed back on recent reports suggesting the politicization of the government’s review of the AT&T and Time Warner merger. Last week, it was widely reported that the Department of Justice asked AT&T to divest Turner as a condition of winning approval, possibly owing to Donald Trump’s distaste for CNN.
After almost a year of review,Ã¢â‚¬Â¯ everybody seems suddenly gobsmacked that the Justice Department had serious reservations about Ã¢â‚¬Â¯the $85 billion Time Warner merger.
AT&T Inc. will try to dig into whether the White House influenced the Justice Department’s review of the company’s planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. if the government sues to block the deal, according to people familiar with the matter. In the event of a trial over the $85.4 billion deal, AT&T intends to seek court permission for access to communications between the White House and the Justice Department about the takeover, said the people, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.
Everyone knows the president hates CNN — but Trump’s Fox News ally also has multiple bones to pick with the proposed deal.
CEO Randall Stephenson disputed claims that he offered to sell CNN to win government approval of AT&T’s pending acquisition of CNN’s parent company Time Warner. “I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN. Period. And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN,” Stephenson said. But AT&T is also getting ready for a possible court battle, he said.
The Justice Department told AT&T that it wanted the telecom company to sell its DirecTV satellite unit or Time Warner’s Turner, which houses CNN, TBS and TNT, to get the deal approved. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said: “I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so.”
The Justice Department is actively considering a lawsuit to challenge AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner, according to people familiar with the matter. The department’s antitrust division is preparing for litigation in case it decides to sue to block the deal, these people said. Simultaneously, the department and the companies are discussing possible settlement terms that would lead to the deal winning government approval with conditions attached.
Seven groups from both sides of the political spectrum asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner if, the groups wrote, “as it appears, [the proposed deal] would substantially harm competition, [we urge the government] not to allow it to go forward unless those harms can be effectively prevented.”
AT&T and Time Warner have pushed out the closing deadline for their $85 billion merger as the companies are still seeking antitrust approval from the Justice Department. After the Oct. 22 deadline passed over the weekend without the deal being finalized, the companies filed with the SEC to extend the termination period for a “short period of time to facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval required to close the merger.”