The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) filed notice in U.S. District Court yesterday that it intends to appeal the decision that cleared the way for AT&T to acquire Time Warner. The Department had attempted to block the $84.5 billion merger on antitrust grounds. But U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled in AT&T’s favor June 12 (see “AT&T closes Time Warner purchase”).
AT&T has already begun integrating its new assets, a process that will continue while the appeal is heard. “The Court’s decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned,” said David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel, via a press statement. “While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DoJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances. We are ready to defend the Court’s decision at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.”
Observers say that the DoJ’s appeal is unlikely to succeed.
The two companies announced the merger in October 2016, and the deal endured a lengthy review process before the Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit to stop it in November 2017 (see "AT&T, DoJ headed to court over Time Warner acquisition"). President Donald Trump decried the proposed merger and vowed to stop it while he campaigned for his current office. President Trump also has repeatedly criticized the coverage he’s received from CNN, a Time Warner property, leading observers to suggest the DoJ’s zeal is politically motivated. The DoJ has denied these claims.
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