USA sues to stop AT&T buying Time Warner, says would hike rates

USA sues to stop AT&T buying Time Warner, says would hike rates

Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban on Monday said he thinks Facebook and Google will be "big losers" of the Justice Department's intention to sue to block the proposed merger between Time Warner and AT&T.

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

"This merger would greatly harm American consumers", said Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for antitrust, said in a statement.

This follows a period filled with reports that the DOJ demanded AT&T and Time Warner sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN.

"Blocking this merger is the right thing to do - and we hope the Justice Department is doing it for the right reasons", said Craig Aaron, president of advocacy group Free Press, which opposes media industry consolidation.

Rep. Gutierrez Among Sponsors of Impeachment Articles vs. President Trump
The lawmakers are at odds with the leadership in their party, however. Marcia Fudge and John Yarmuth signed on as co-sponsors.

"Were this merger allowed to proceed, the newly combined firm likely would - just as AT&T/DirecTV has already predicted - use its control of Time Warner's popular programming as a weapon to harm competition", states the DOJ complaint filed in the case.

AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson, however, has countered that notion and said he was never under pressure to spin off CNN.

As NPR's David Folkenflik has reported, the DOJ's anticipated lawsuit had "triggered concerns" within CNN that the Trump administration was "taking action against a media outfit simply because it has angered the president with its coverage, raising First Amendment implications".

"We are confident that the court will reject the government's claims and permit this merger under longstanding legal precedent", McAtee said.

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