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AT&T/Time Warner Deal Could Still Face Suit From Trump Administration

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 06, 2017 5:57 AM

In some things, we have no choice -- like the weather, aging, and cable companies.

At least, that is true most of the time. You can always move to a warmer climate.

When it comes to AT&T's proposed purchase of Time Warner, Inc., however, it looks like same old, same old. The government may sue to block it, but chances are high that AT&T will ultimately reign.

Too Much Power

According to reports, the Department of Justice is considering whether to sue to block the merger. After all, President Trump said during his campaign that the deal would put "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few."

That was a year ago. Since then, the president has appointed a new lawyer to head the DOJ's antitrust division. Makan Delrahim said the AT&T deal does not pose a "major antitrust problem."

So the parties have been negotiating. But it's been on-again, off-again, as the Wall Street Journal reports they "aren't yet close to an agreement."

Benefit Consumers

Consumer groups routinely rail against mergers for fear they will decrease competition and increase prices. But Ars Technica reports that AT&T is confident the deal will go through.

"For over 40 years, vertical mergers like this one have always been approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitors from the market," the company said. "While we won't comment on our discussions with DOJ, we see no reason in the law or the facts why this transaction should be an exception."

AT&T, which owns DirectTV, is the largest pay-television provider. By acquiring Time Warner, the company would also own HBO, CNN, Warner Bros. and other programming.

It is also one of the largest home internet companies and biggest wireless carriers in the country. Forbes reports that AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the largest telecom companies in the world.

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