Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

United States appeals $80bn AT&T-Time Warner deal

United States appeals $80bn AT&T-Time Warner deal

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AT&T defended the merger by arguing that it will allow the company to compete better with Netflix, Amazon, Google and other online video distributors.

The department offered no additional comment beyond the one-sentnce filing. "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 in a statement.

The US government has chose to appeal against a landmark court ruling that cleared the way for telecoms giant AT&T to buy Time Warner.

AT&T shares fell 1 per cent after the bell.

A new trial is likely to see the United States government renew. Those higher costs would be passed on to consumers, the government said. Significantly, the judge cleared the way for a takeover without imposing any conditions on AT&T, such as the sale of DirecTV or Time Warner's cablenet operator Turner.

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Some consumer advocacy groups cheered news of the appeal. AT&T was sued by the Justice Department, but won approval from a judge to move forward with the deal in June following a six-week trial. He said that if elected president, he would block the transaction from taking place. In response, AT&T said that the deal would actually lead to lower prices for TV viewers.

Asked about CNN's potential role in the merger's difficulties, AT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson said: "Frankly, I don't know". That separation might make undoing the merger logistically easier if the DOJ wins its appeal.

The Trump administration has opposed the deal from the start.

The Justice Department had pressured Time Warner to sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes the cable news operation CNN, or other segments of the business, which both companies resisted. Still, that issue could arise during the appeal.

A judge approved the deal last month after almost two years of effort by the two companies. The appeals process could take many months, leaving lingering uncertainty over AT&T's plans.

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