WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Nov. 20 that it has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. by AT&T/DirecTV over anti-competitive allegations.
“This merger would greatly harm American consumers. It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy,” said assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim of the Department’s Antitrust Division. “AT&T/DirecTV’s combination with Time Warner is unlawful, and absent an adequate remedy that would fully prevent the harms this merger would cause, the only appropriate action for the Department of Justice is to seek an injunction from a federal judge blocking the entire transaction.”
According to the department, the merger would substantially lessen competition, effectively driving up prices and driving down innovation. The department says that AT&T could use its control over Time Warner to force other providers to pay more to distribute Time Warner’s networks.
“The merger would also enable the merged company to impede disruptive competition from online video distributors, competition that has allowed consumers greater choices at cheaper prices,” Delrahim said.