According to various reports, the Justice Department has decided to appeal the court decision allowing the AT&T-Time Warner merger, signaling its intent with a court document filed Thursday (July 12).
The deal closed soon after the judge rendered his decision June 12, and Justice chose not to seek a stay after the judge signaled it would not get one.
The judge concluded in a 172-page decision that DOJ "failed to meet its burden to establish that the proposed transaction is likely to lessen competition substantially," and thus declined to enjoin the merger.He found the government’s evidence unpersuasive and itswitness testimony unsupported, or even contradicted, by evidence.
The DOJ had said the deal should not be allowed because the combined company would be able to raise prices or restrict access to that high-value programming, including online. Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim had signaled following the decision that DOJ had a commitment to preserving competition, something he felt the deal did not do.
The Open Markets Institute, which called for the appeal, has said that it "is critical not only for maintaining the existing level of competition in video distribution, but also for ensuring that antitrust remains a strong tool against anticompetitive vertical mergers.”