AT&T (T) late Friday filed a brief in US District Court defending its $85 billion merger with Time Warner, which the US Department of Justice filed suit in November to block, citing antitrust law.
AT&T said in the brief, “The transaction before the Court is a vertical merger of two companies that operate in highly competitive environments, but do not compete against each other….AT&T is the distributor with the consumer relationship; Time Warner is one of many suppliers for AT&T’s products.”
AT&T added, “Modern antitrust law recognizes that mergers between suppliers, such as Time Warner, and distributors, such as AT&T, almost always create efficiencies and synergies that lead to lower consumer prices and greater innovation.”
AT&T did not make allegations of political bias as part of its defense against the Justice Department’s lawsuit. When the DOJ filed the lawsuit, AT&T and Time Warner said the government was selectively enforcing antitrust law, motivated because of President Donald Trump’s animus toward CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.
The trial is slated to begin March 19 and expected to last three weeks. The judge is expected to make a decision in April.