After the U.S government stated that it would go to court in order to stop the deal between AT&T and Time Warner, the company AT&T through its head Randall Stephenson told antitrust enforcers that AT&T Inc. would see them in court. He made this statement after the DOJ blocked the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T in a deal that would worth around $85.4 billion.
Stephenson stated that “the lawsuit stretches the very idea of antitrust law beyond the breaking point.” He, however, noted that there is still room for negotiation as they can find a way to ensure that the deal is approved by the relevant authorities. He, however, noted that selling CNN to appease the White House wasn’t going to be part of the deal. The attorney representing the mobile carrier company, Daniel Petrocelli commented that the company is ready to take the case to trial within 2 months.
If the case goes to trial, then the final decision would be left to a judge as he/she will decide if the merger between AT&T and Time Warner should go ahead. AT&T would like to see the issue resolved before April 22, as that date will allow any of the company can walk away from the agreement without any penalty. This was stated by Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research. He further added that “AT&T is certainly willing to fight this.”
The deal seems to be close to a conclusion just a month ago but the appointment of Delrahim as the new antitrust chief by President Trump has seen the deal on the verge of collapse. Delrahim mentioned on Monday that, “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.”
Delrahim stated that the deal can still go through if Time Warner decides to sell their Broadcasting division, which owns cable channels including CNN, TNT and Turner Sports or for AT&T to sell DirecTV, the satellite provider they acquired back in 2015.
The sudden turn of events had surprised Stephenson who stated that “When we announced this deal, the best legal minds in the country agreed that this transaction would be approved since our companies don’t even compete with each other.”