Tech: Justice Department appeals ruling in attempt to block massive AT&T–Time Warner merger


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The Justice Department will appeal a judge’s decision that allowed the merger between AT&T and Time Warner. In court records released today, the agency said it plans to take the lower court’s ruling to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, in another attempt to block the deal.

Last month’s decision against the Justice Department was a devastating rebuke of the Trump administration’s antitrust enforcement team, and it allowed for the creation of a major new player in the industry. The judge’s ruling, moreover, was an extraordinarily one-sided decision in favor of the merger, although the legal thinking behind that ruling was controversial.

The decision also provided a regulatory green light for similar mergers: the next day, seeing the ruling in favor of the companies, Comcast announced a play for 21st Century Fox.

The department previously said it would allow the merger to move ahead as it considered whether to appeal the ruling, and the deal officially closed shortly after, just ahead of a deadline to close the agreement. It was unclear whether the department would ultimately decide to bring the appeal in the face of the judge’s stern ruling.

AT&T has meanwhile moved full-steam ahead with its plans, holding discussions on what to do with newly acquired properties like HBO.

The Justice Department did not provide a comment beyond the court filing. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Tech: Justice Department appeals ruling in attempt to block massive AT&T–Time Warner merger

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