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9 Attorneys General Back AT&T in Time Warner Deal

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 28, 2018 3:30 PM

Nine states have thrown their support behind the AT&T/Time Warner deal, which a federal judge approved in June.

It was supposed to be a done deal when Judge Richard Leon ruled that AT&T could proceed in its acquisition of Time Warner. The judge even warned the federal government, which tried to block it, to back off.

But the Justice Department appealed, and now the attorneys generals are weighing in. They didn't start the fight, but they want to finish it.

"Without Merit"

Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin want in. In briefs, they noted the government had no support from any state in the country.

They said it "is rare for the federal government to pursue an antitrust case involving major, national companies without any state joining the effort."

AT&T, in its brief, also called out the government lawyers The company said the trial judge found their case to be "without merit."

"That determination validates the States' decision and is entitled to substantial deference," the brief said.

"Stunning" Defeat

When the trial judge refused the government's request to stop the merger, observers called it a "stunning" defeat.

The decision allowed the $85 billion deal to proceed, despite opposition from other media companies and President Trump. The president had a personal issue with it because Time Warner owns CNN, a source of Trump's "fake news."

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