A unanimous three judge panel on US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday rejected the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) assertion that the $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner would be anti-competitive, thereby harming consumers and stifling competition.
In affirming the June 2018 ruling of Judge Richard Leon, the court found that the DOJ failed to show that costs for Turner Broadcasting content would increase after the merger.
In his argument, Michael Murray, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, presented expert testimony regarding the negative effects of a proposed vertical merger of this type, including the defendants themselves who had testified seven years earlier about the anti-competitive effects of a proposed vertical merger within the industry. AT&T countered with its own data to show the real world effects that their own proposed vertical merger would cause, which were of little or no consequence. The court’s decision was based on the fact that the DOJ did nothing to refute AT&T’s assertions.