AT&T, Time Warner extend deadline to finalize merger

AT&T, Time Warner extend deadline to finalize merger

AT&T, Time Warner extend deadline to finalize merger

The union of AT&T and Time Warner would create a media behemoth with assets including the Warner Bros. studio, CNN, HBO, the Turner networks, AT&T's wireless business and DirecTV.

AT&T and Time Warner have submitted a joint court filing arguing that their proposed $85.4 billion (€78.5bn) merger is "pro-competitive" and "pro-consumer", seeking to refute claims by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) that the deal breaks antitrust law and would substantially lessen competition, resulting in higher prices and less innovation for millions of Americans.

"Based on that precedent - as well as the government's own guidelines to consider "tailored conduct remedies created to prevent conduct that might harm consumers while still allowing the efficiencies that may come from [a vertical] merger to be realized" - AT&T and Time Warner fully expected to resolve the government's review of this merger by agreement, rather than litigation", AT&T argued in its filing. "The Government could effectively run out the clock on this merger without ever having to prove its case".

"AT&T intends to vigorously contest the DOJ's allegations and is confident that the Court will reject the DOJ's challenge to the merger", the company wrote in its SEC filing.

They said the two parties "remain at an impasse on the proposed trial date".

The takeover was first agreed in October 2016 and was previously expected to close by the end of 2017.

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Time Warner and AT&T estimate that the trial will take 10 days, and called a delay beyond February 20 "unwarranted and unfair".

AT&T and Time Warner are fighting back.

The government argues that AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is illegal because AT&T would "use its control of Time Warner's popular programming as a weapon to harm competition". They also argued that the government was wrong to worry that the deal would hamper the development of online video.

In the response, AT&T said it had offered remedies to the Justice Department, similar to what it had accepted in 2011 in a deal between Comcast and NBCUniversal.

He also addressed whether he thought CNN was a factor in the DOJ decision.

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