Justice Department to appeal its loss in the AT&T-Time Warner trial

Justice Department appeals approval of AT&T-Time Warner deal

Justice Department Appeals AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision

The two companies completed the merger in the days following the ruling, so if the government prevails, the appeals court could order the deal undone or require AT&T to sell off parts of Time Warner.

But in June Leon ruled that the government's objections "rested on improper notions" and warned against an appeal.

"The Court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned", David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said in a statement. "We are ready to defend the (lower court ruling) at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals".

By opposing the merger, the government was forced to argue against a legal doctrine which favours vertical mergers - which is a combination between companies which do not compete directly with each other. It's a very interesting and unexpected outcome but one to keep a watchful eye on going forward.

For instance, it will manage the Turner networks as part of a separate business unit, distinct from operations of AT&T Communications.

The department's antitrust division filed a notice of appeal Thursday in Washington federal court.

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AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on Thursday at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, that the company was not surprised about the Justice Department's decision to appeal.

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment on the filing.

Mr Trump has publicly feuded with Time Warner's CNN, calling it "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news".

AT&T is a phone, cable and satellite company, and the biggest pay TV provider in the U.S. - claiming about 25 million of the approximately 90 million USA households that are pay TV customers.

Federal lawyers contended that the combined company would be too large and powerful, allowing it to run roughshod over other players in the entertainment and media world and to hike prices on consumers. That apparently wasn't enough, however, to satisfy the Justice Department.

The Trump administration had opposed the merger, moving to block it on grounds that it hurt media industry competition. Waiting in the wings are potential big-billions deals involving Verizon and CBS and T-Mobile and Sprint.

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