AT&T and Time Warner will hold a press conference later today to discuss the Justice Department’s efforts to block their merger, but in the meantime, the companies are calling out the agency.
"Today's DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent,” said David McAtee II, senior executive vice president and general counsel at AT&T, in a statement. "Vertical mergers like this one are routinely approved because they benefit consumers without removing any competitor from the market. We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently.
"Our merger combines Time Warner's content and talent with AT&T's TV, wireless and broadband distribution platforms. The result will help make television more affordable, innovative, interactive and mobile. Fortunately, the Department of Justice doesn't have the final say in this matter. Rather, it bears the burden of proving to the U.S. District Court that the transaction violates the law. We are confident that the Court will reject the government's claims and permit this merger under longstanding legal precedent."
AT&T’s statement comes after numerous developments in the antitrust review of its proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner. At the beginning of November, the deal appeared to be on track for approval, but reports surfaced suggesting the DOJ was preparing to litigate if it couldn’t agree on conditions with AT&T.
Questions arose about the Trump administration’s involvement in the proceedings, particularly after reports that the DOJ was demanding AT&T sell off Turner Broadcasting and CNN, with whom Trump has had a tumultuous relationship.
According to Bloomberg, AT&T and Time Warner are preparing to ask the court for access to communications between the White House and DOJ regarding the transaction.