DOJ Antitrust Division files petition appealing AT&T-Time Warner merger

One month after multinational telecommunications giant AT&T completed its purchase of Time Warner Inc., the Department of Justice has filed an appeal to the ruling which allowed the takeover to proceed.

Two days following a June 12 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon striking down the DOJ’s argument the merger would stamp out competition in the pay-TV industry, AT&T completed its $85 billion, cash-and-stock bargain to purchase debt-ridden Time Warner.

Under the terms of AT&T’s offer, Time Warner shareholders received 1.4 shares of AT&T common stock.  Shareholders also received $53.75 per Time Warner share in cash.

Following the rare loss dealt to the government, in a one-sentence filing in federal court Thursday, attorneys with the DOJ’s Antitrust Division lodged an initial notice, but did not include specific language describing the nature of the appeal or arguments it intends to harness to contest Leon’s opinion.

In a statement released by AT&T, General Counsel David McAtee said the holding firm is prepared for a court battle with government lawyers to preserve the merger.

“The court’s decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned. While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances,” McAtee said.

The culmination of a two-year bid to acquire the mass-media entertainment conglomerate, AT&T has consistently stated its bid to purchase Time Warner will bolster competition in the industry against tech firms such as Amazon and Netflix.

Considered by industry experts as a “vertical merger,” in which a firm purchases its suppliers, industry experts say the final ruling in the case will pave the way for future rulings in the field.  Comcast is locked in a battle with 20th Century Fox to expand its holding in a bid to buy U.K.-based Sky News.


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