AT&T-Time Warner Deal Approval Gets Justice Department Challenge

A federal judge approved the deal a month ago, saying the federal agency did not sufficiently prove that the merger would harm competition and consumers.

Comments: 19

  1. On behalf of Trump the Justice Dept. is till trying to keep CNN -- his least-favorite network, despite the free 24/7 coverage it gave him during the first year of the campaign -- from getting more protection and funding as part of the giant AT&T. That explains the gov't's continuation of a battle that appears to be an economic one but is really political.

  2. So glad the government is appealing the merger of AT&T and Time Warner. AT&T is shady. It allowed some random company to start charging me for fax service, and I don't have a fax machine. One of AT&T's customer service reps was kind enough to tell me that I was being charged for a service I didn't need or request. AT&T's rates are too high, and the service is not that great. This merger would not benefit consumers in the least bit. I'm ashamed to admit I actually agree with Trump on something.

  3. This is a fool's errand.

    The US government has too many people, with too much time on their hands, and too much taxpayer money burning a whole in their pockets.

  4. it's called keeping the President happy. Today he refused to take questions from a CNN reporter in England. How many ways are there to pressure a news channel to change its editorial policy. Any first amendment watchdogs?

  5. The single most outrageous government failure of the past 30 years is the failure to vigorously enforce the antitrust laws.

    Republican and democratic presidents alike have been far too lenient towards mergers. I don't care what the Trump admin's motivations are for this challenge, I want to see the Justice Department actually trying to enforce the law for once.

  6. Since AT & T merged with DirecTV, there have been some very unpleasant changes and a total lack of customer service. It's my contention that when a company gets too big, they no longer care about their customers and become less viable as a business.

    When it's all about greed and power, the customer gets squeezed again and again. Look at what they did with the hilarious and misguided "regional sports fee" which now has a lawsuit working its way through the courts. They made up a fee, because they thought they could, and they slammed their customers with it.

    Break them up. Cut them down to size. For once, let it work in the customer's favor, please.

  7. I think they should do the opposite, nationalize them all.

  8. Trump just can't let go of his hatred of CNN. Meanwhile his DOJ gave an immediate green light to Disney's acquisition of Fox's movie and TV assets, a horizontal merger that truly is anti-competitive. After all, Trump wants to reward his friend Rupert Murdoch. This administration operates like the mob--loyalty to Don the don is all that counts.

  9. "But experts say the appeal sends a clear signal that the government, despite its court loss, will be aggressive on deals between companies with complementary businesses, known as vertical mergers."

    This is an incredibly naive statement. The DOJ's opposition to this merger is 100% politically motivated, driven by Cheeto McTwitterbot's grudge against CNN. Be assured: If the next such deal is bad for the consumers and enriches the 1%, they'll be all for it.

  10. If the government doesn’t believe service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Google should be also allowed to own and produce content, it will need to pass laws specifically banning such activity. As it stands, there is virtually no legal basis upon which to break up this vertical combination. It’s like saying a plastics manufacturer can’t ever merge with a toy company, because they may someday overcharge competing manufacturers for plastic. In reality, they would need to continue selling as much plastic as possible in order to maintain and grow profits. You cannot legally assume that unpredictably bad behavior might someday happen before it ever occurs, especially when industry economics so strongly preclude it.

  11. With all of these major mergers we are turning into the old Soviet Union. Aeroflot, Lada and GUM. One lousy choice.

  12. Not bad, if they would just do one thing right: that is produce absolutely nothing!

  13. At&T is going down. If this case goes to SCOTUS, AT&T will lose because the conservative majority will most likely rule in favor of the Trump Administration. Avoid the stock for now.

  14. I don’t “do” stock, but it’s good to hear that AT&T will go down just like I’d like to hear the same about GM for manufacturing real good diesel train engines but with the other hand, building, or having manufactured (or actually, over-engineered) pieces of junk that they sell to American people with their advertising bravado and trump-like hubris.

  15. judge leon's "fact" findings were highly result-oriented. if the d.c. circuit applies existing law regarding vertical mergers, including tests for market definition, this should be a very close case--and one which the public should be paying attention to. the merger will harm the public interest--and ensuing mergers like it will raise price and reduce consumer choice.

    many have asked why, in the last generation, the income and wealth gaps in this country have increased so greatly--especially compared to those in western europe. one of the primary reasons has been the proliferation of larger corporate mergers, unchecked by administrations of both parties.

    although trump's people have not done much to promote our public interest, the appeal in this case is an exception.

  16. In many markets, AT&T and Time Warner are the only two options for Internet Service Providers. Consolidation means millions of customers potentially under a monopoly. This is doubly bad as Net Neutrality is repealed.

    I have had nightmarishly bad customer service experiences with AT&T. They are your friend when you want to add service, but you can't even get a rep on the phone when you want to cancel. And the rate just keeps going up and up and up each month, unless you call and threaten to cancel. Which you can't do, because they don't answer their phones.

    Thank goodness Google Fiber is available in my neighborhood. I pray they never sell out to someone else.

  17. Steve, you are throughly confused. Before the AT&T merger Time Warner was not a cable provider--you are thinking of Time Warner Cable. That was a completely independent company, and it was bought out by Charter Communications last year. The merger in question here is between the content provider Time-Warner (CNN, HBO, etc.) and AT&T.

  18. AT&T has always been the most expensive & most worthless plan i’ve ever joined with. Just knowing that its going downhill isn’t bad, they’ve become a huge failure that it’s really bad. It’s interesting how AT&T has gotten from power and higher to becoming a huge fail and everyone knowing about it. It’s like the more power, the more they take advantage of people. "But experts say the appeal sends a clear signal that the government, despite its court loss, will be aggressive on deals between companies with complementary businesses, known as vertical mergers." The court let the government realize that either deals are known for their mergers. The government had a hard time convincing people. It’s been a while since the government actually had this problem which was a huge shock to me. Very endearing the court got to the bottom of this and made the situation a closed case. The channels and shows like, HBO and Netflix are both very great visual representations but Netflix is so much better than HBO. Netflix has a base where you can be watching a movie and then watching a show right after, you can be bing watching something a never get bored from it. People are drawn to the attention so they love what other people love and see. That brings people to choosing their own sides and not liking what they see. Society is messed up. In my opinion, whether or not the government is mad, they can’t do anything about it.

  19. the DOJ needs to read Stratechery as most venture capitalists are....

    @stratechery (ben thompson)

    on june 18, 2018

    on october 24th 2016

    AT&T, however, may have found a loophole: zero rating. Zero rating is often conflated with net neutrality, but unlike the latter, zero rating does not entail the discriminatory treatment of data; it just means that some data is free (sure, this is a violation of the idea of net neutrality, but this is why I was critical of the narrow focus on discriminatory treatment of data by net neutrality advocates). AT&T is already using zero rating to push DirecTV:

    This is almost certainly the plan for Time Warner content as well: sure, it will continue to be available on all distributors, but if you subscribe to AT&T you can watch as much as you want for free; moreover, this offering is one that is strengthened by secular trends towards cord-cutting and mobile-only video consumption. If those trends continue on their current path AT&T will not only strengthen the moat of its wireless service against T-Mobile but maybe even start to steal share.

    That this point never came up in the government’s case, and, by extension, the judge’s ruling, is truly astounding.