AT&T-Time Warner Say They’re Victims of Differential Treatment – Variety

AT&T-Time Warner Say They’re Victims of Differential Treatment – Variety

“Defendants have not abandoned their selective enforcement defense,” the businesses stated in a footnote. “Trial evidence confirmed the government’s differential treatment of comparable vertical mergers. But absent discovery, it was impractical for defendants to press the issue further at trial.”

AT&T-Time Warner’s lead lawyer Daniel Petrocelli had sought a privilege log of DOJ-Trump administration communications, ostensibly to pursue a possible protection that the hassle to dam the merger was influenced by President Trump’s animus towards CNN, a division of Time Warner-owned Turner. But Leon wrote in February that AT&T had not proven proof of so-called “selective enforcement” to warrant acquiring the data and had fallen “far short” of exhibiting that they had been singled out.

The Justice Department claims that the mixed firms will use elevated leverage to extract higher carriage charges for CNN, TBS, TNT and different Turner networks from AT&T’s rivals. Ultimately, these elevated prices can be handed on to customers.

In the trial temporary, the businesses stated that “this is not a close case,” and that the truth is the trial confirmed that buyers would face decrease costs, and the merged firm can be higher capable of compete with web giants like Facebook and Google. “The only appropriate judgment is one that finds no legal violation, denies the requested injunction, and brings the case to a prompt conclusion.”

AT&T-Time Warner’s authorized workforce additionally argues that Leon can not impose cures, or a set of circumstances, on the proposed merger, with out concluding that it poses anticompetitive hurt.

They keyed in on a second from Monday’s closing arguments, when Leon requested the Justice Department’s lead counsel, Craig Conrath, whether or not he first needed to discover an antitrust violation earlier than imposing a treatment. Conrath agreed that was the case.

That’s probably important, as earlier within the trial Leon had queried one witness as as to whether he can be amenable to a merger that included a modified arbitration provision.

Shortly after the case was filed in November, Time Warner’s Turner networks provided to enter “baseball” fashion arbitration to settle carriage disputes with AT&T’s rivals. The supply was a method to alleviate issues that the mixed firm would acquire an excessive amount of leverage amongst cable, satellite tv for pc and different distributors. If the clause had been concerned, Turner couldn’t pull its networks throughout the carriage dispute, eliminating the menace of a blackout.

AT&T-Time Warner’s authorized workforce argues that the arbitration provision shouldn’t be handled as a “remedy,” however a “commitment.” They say that Leon might “issue findings and conclusions about the commitment that will confirm the rights and obligations it entails.”

They stated that the Justice Department didn’t take the arbitration clause into consideration in assessing the merger, and their “conscious refusal to do so was a fundamental failure of proof on liability issues and should be treated as such.”

Leon was the identical decide who signed off on Comcast-NBCUniversal’s merger in 2011, which included a bunch of circumstances, however AT&T-Time Warner’s authorized workforce stated that this case is completely different.

“The Tunney Act, which applies only to DOJ antitrust settlements, required this court to confirm that DOJ had not granted Comcast an inappropriately lenient deal and that the settlement was ‘in the public interest,’” the businesses stated of their trial temporary. “This case involves no such statutory mandate. This is a fully litigated case, and the government failed to prove” a violation of antitrust legislation.

(Pictured: Daniel Petrocelli)

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