Department of Justice appeals ruling that allowed AT&T-Time Warner merger

Smartphone with AT&T logo is seen in front of displayed Time Warner logo in this

Department of Justice appeals ruling that allowed AT&T-Time Warner merger

The DOJ offered no details of the appeal other than to file a one-sentence notice in the same D.C. federal court where it suffered its defeat on June 12.

On Thursday, AT&T said: "The court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based and well researched". The Justice Department had 60 days to appeal the merger after it was approved.

Meanwhile, AT&T Inc. said it would take the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

It has only been a month since a United States court gave AT&T approval to buy Time Warner. AT&T slipped 1.13 percent to close at $32.23 in NY.

AT&T agreed to maintain some separation between and its old and new business units as part of a post-verdict agreement that let AT&T close the acquisition without facing a DOJ petition for a stay.

AT&T countered that a combined company would be better able to compete with a growing roster of online video competitors including Facebook, Google, Netflix and Apple. When that wrapped up in the beginning of May, the DOJ proposed solutions to ensure the merger wouldn't fall afoul of anti-competitive law: Either get rid of DirecTV or Turner (which contains TNT, TBS and CNN).

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Some consumer advocacy groups cheered news of the appeal.

The deal also seemed to set the stage for even more consolidation between telecom and media companies, leading Comcast to challenge Disney for ownership of Fox's film and TV assets.

CNN has always been a target for Trump, calling the Time Warner-owned news network "fake news".

The Justice Department sued to block the deal in November 2017, alleging that the combination would allow AT&T, the largest pay-TV provider in the country, to use Time Warner's stable of popular entertainment offerings to suppress competitors.

The appeal will extend a battle with competition regulators that started in 2016, when AT&T first announced its plan to buy Time Warner. "Judge Leon's decision contained numerous errors, and we believe the DOJ's position should be vindicated".

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