The Justice Department has decided to appeal the ruling in their case against AT&T and Time Warner to block the merger. The DOJ filed a document with the court on Thursday. After the document was filed, AT&T’s stock did slip a bit, as expected, given that this merger could get overturned if the appeal does go through. When the decision was announced by Judge Leon last month, it’s stock did jump about three percent in after hours trading.
Judge Richard Leon decided in June that the merger between AT&T and Time Warner could go through as planned, and approved it without any conditions. The approval wasn’t a surprise, but the no conditions part was. A number of people had expected AT&T to be forced to sell off some of Time Warner’s media properties like CNN and HBO, but that was not the case. Judge Leon also noted that the Justice Department had failed to argue effectively that the deal would significantly decrease competition, which was the reason for the DOJ suing AT&T to block this merger. Following the approval of Judge Leon, AT&T moved quickly to close the merger between itself and Time Warner, announcing the merger closing that same day, just a few hours later.
After the ruling was made last month, the Justice Department did decide not to delay the closing of the merger, but it did reserve the right to appeal the decision. Now the Justice Department is looking to appeal the decision. So far, there is very little information known about the appeal for this decision, and it could be another long, dragged out case for AT&T, Time Warner and the Justice Department. It’s also not a done deal that the appeal would rule in the Justice Department’s favor, but it is doing all that it can to block this deal, which has given AT&T the content, the infrastructure to deliver the content and the devices for you to watch the content on. Which means AT&T controls the entire system, and that is why the DOJ is (and was) suing to block the merger.
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