Well, it looks like AT&T is not going to take the DOJ lawsuit to block their purchase of Time Warner laying down. (The TV company, not the cable company.) Now AT&T is making it clear they are willing to offer concessions but are not willing to sell assets.
Today during a speech at The Economic Club in New York Wednesday AT&T’s Chairman Randall Stephenson says the Justice Department has taken a meat ax to the rule of law. This all comes as Mr. Stephenson was talking about the AT&T/Time Warner merger and the DOJ lawsuit.
According to Mr Stephenson the law has been interpreted, implemented and executed in that way, then “to suddenly wake up on a merger that is less complicated than one that was already approved, NBC/Comcast, one that is less complicated and has less market power issues, and to go from very targeted structural remedies to a meat ax approach of just blocking the thing, just strikes at the heart of rule of law.”
AT&T went on to say they have already offered to make concessions and has offered to use an arbitrator to help reduce concerns brought up by the DOJ. “if a distributor reaches an impasse with AT&T/Time Warner over access to Turner content, the parties will submit their respective “best offers” to the arbitrator, and the arbitrator will choose the one that best represents fair market value, subject to a right of judicial review under the Federal Arbitration Act.”
Clearly, AT&T is hoping a Judge will side with them in their efforts to buy Time Warner without the need to sell off any part of Time Warner. There have been reports that the DOJ has asked AT&T to sell off parts of Time Warner in order for them to approve the deal. This is not unheard of as in the past DOJ has asked for certain concessions in order to approve large deals like this one. For example, during the NBC/Comcast deal, Comcast had to agree to give up day to day control of Hulu for a period of time. Often during the purchase of ISPs it is not unusual for the DOJ to request that part of a market be sold off before they would approve the deal.
Now, this is all in the hands of a Judge and no one knows what will happen next.
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