AT&T-Time Warner Merger: Does the DOJ Have a Case?
Variety quoted Ted Frank and Frank Bednarz on the impact that fear of large business firms has on the Department of Justice and the results of that fear in which regulators are enabled to set conditions for their own personal advantage.
The surprising Department of Justice lawsuit to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner may end up in an epic courtroom showdown, unlike any recent antitrust challenge in recent memory.
The DOJ’s 23-page complaint lays out a case that is notable for its straightforward argument: The bulked-up AT&T-DirecTV-Time Warner would have the leverage and incentive to withhold prized content, like channels featuring “Game of Thrones” and NBA games, from rivals or new entrants.
AT&T, meanwhile, finds that argument specious and a diversion from the way that the government has handled antitrust law. Its CEO Randall Stephenson said on Monday evening that it “stretches the reach of antitrust law beyond the breaking point.”
In the wake of the lawsuit, a number of public interest groups, politicos, and Wall Street analysts quickly weighed in, sometimes diverting from traditional ideological boundaries.
Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, said in a statement that it was “odd to see the Trump DOJ taking a Carter-era, European-style approach to vertical mergers.” The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ted Frank and Frank Bednarz argued that “when vague hipster concerns about the bigness of firms are actionable, regulators have a free hand to demand conditions for political or personal advantage.”
You can read the full article on Variety.