DOJ sues AT&T bid to buy Time Warner (including CNN)

DOJ sues AT&T bid to buy Time Warner (including CNN)

The Justice Department sued on Monday to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner, calling it an "illegal" combination that harms consumers and stifles innovation, DOJ officials said.

"Their media advertising, content and distribution dominance will be a defense at trial", Cuban tweeted Monday.

AT&T's rocky quest to complete its acquisition of Time Warner just hit another speed bump. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said at the time that his company would not sell any assets and would fight the DOJ in court.

Now the deal is predicated on the approval of a federal judge, unless both sides come to a settlement beforehand. "It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy", Delrahim said.

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Monday's announcement comes two weeks after a controversy erupted publicly over whether AT&T would have to sell off CNN to sidestep government concerns about the company's plan to buy Time Warner. Historically, it's rare for the government to successfully block vertical mergers.

"Today's DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent", AT&T general counsel David McAfee said. At the same time, the DOJ argues that the proposed merger is unprecedented in its size and harm.

Negotiations for the current deal that has AT&T valuing Time Warner at $85.4 billion originally began this past summer.

The Justice Department's lawsuit cited internal Time Warner documents that said long-term contracts to host live sporting events like college basketball and baseball would help allow it to achieve "targeted rate increases".

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