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AT&T-Time Warner Antitrust Trial Date Set For March 19th

Today it was announced that the Department of Justice lawsuit to block the AT&T merger with Time Warner will be in court on March 19th 2018. This will cut it very close to AT&T’s April 22nd, 2018 date for the deal to end if no ruling has been reached and the Judge did warn that he cannot reach a decision by that date. The US District Judge Richard Leon said today that the companies should push back their cutoff date by 60 to 90 days to give him time to make a decision.

“We will promptly discuss the court’s post-trial schedule with Time Warner,” AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement. “We are committed to this transaction and look forward to presenting our case in March.”

“This is not a normal case from many perspectives,” Leon said from the bench Thursday. He went on to estimate that the trial would take about three weeks. “This is going to be a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice.”

The DOJ is attempting to block the merger of AT&T’s deal to buy Time Warner is a $85.4 billion deal in cash and stock under antitrust concerns.

Now AT&T has replied to the DOJ lawsuit with an official statement a few weeks ago:

“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.”

Clearly, AT& T plans to fight this lawsuit with the hopes of still buying Time Warner. So now all we can do is wait and see what the courts will rule but it is very likely this case could drag on for some time.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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