According to sources and the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division, AT&T is furthering talks to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. If approved, AT&T would take on ownership of Time Warner properties such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, Turner sports networks, and Warner Bros. film and TV studio works.
Government lawyers have been looking at potential antitrust issues if AT&T, now the largest pay-TV provider, were to purchase Time Warner and unfairly use it favor their own content over rivals.
While vertical deals such as this one don’t usually require so much scrutiny, much of the opposition is coming from the new White House where antitrust chief-nominee Makan Delrahim is waiting confirmation from the Senate.
And, while premium networks and operators express concern AT&T could use their leverage to favor Time Warner content, a group of lawmakers including Democratic Senators Al Franken of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also say the deal will lead to higher service rates and fewer choices for consumers.
“From forcing its customers to buy bigger bundles of Time Warner’s programming to foreclosing rival content creators’ access to AT&T customers, AT&T-Time Warner could engage in a wide variety of behaviors that would harm competition in the media market,” the group said.
The news, coincidentally, comes exactly two years after AT&T announced completing acquisition of DirecTV on July 24, 2015.
Mainstream news of the deal goes back to October 2016 when AT&T announced a bid for Time Warner in the amount of $85.4 Billion.
Source: Chicago Tribune