Today, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon approved the AT&T-Time Warner merger. Judge Leon rejected the Justice Department’s argument in its antitrust lawsuit aimed at blocking the deal. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) experts praised the ruling.
CEI Research Fellow and Regulatory Counsel Ryan Radia:
“Today's decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to approve AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is a win for consumers. The government failed to offer persuasive evidence that the transaction would harm competition or consumers.
“Meanwhile, America's media sector has experienced a wave of deconsolidation and entry over the past three decades, so today's decision is a return to normalcy. Original video production is at an all-time high, a trend that industry observers have long recognized is unsustainable. By joining forces, AT&T and Time Warner will be better positioned to monetize content, in turn incentivizing the merged company to invest more in original programming.
“Meanwhile, satellite and cable providers such as Comcast, Charter/TWC, Cox, and Dish Network remain well positioned to bargain aggressively with AT&T-Time Warner over the price of content. And with stand-alone Internet video offerings such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix all competing aggressively, there's no shortage of competition in the streaming space.”
CEI Attorney Frank Bednarz:
“The Department of Justice proved no harm to consumers or to competitors, which is unsurprising because AT&T and Time Warner operate in different markets. The district court vindicated the rule of law and protected American shareholders and consumers against executive overreach.”
CEI has long argued that antitrust creates distortions that makes competition non-urgent and unnecessary—failing to protect competition and consumers.
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