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Justice Department appeals AT&T-Time Warner merger approval

2018-07-13 12:28 by
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The Justice Department on Thursday filed notice that it is appealing a judge's approval of AT&T's purchase of Time Warner. The June 12 ruling was a blow for the Justice Department's antitrust division. The government's arguments were swept aside by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, who gave his blessing for the deal valued at $85 billion.

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. While many consumer advocates agreed, President Trump's frequently expressed animus toward CNN hung over the trial, despite Leon's admonition it had no place in court.

The ruling was seen as a green light for other companies to pursue mergers, and in the ensuing months, bidding wars have erupted between Comcast and Disney for big chunk of 21st Century Fox's assets.

Now the case will go to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel will hear the appeal. It's possible the court could place the case on a fast track because the longer an appeals process takes, the more integrated the two companies will become. AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner on June 14 and formed WarnerMedia a day later.

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