AT&T/TW Accuse DOJ of Selective Enforcement

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AT&T/DirecTV and Time Warner have told a federal court and, by extension, the Justice Department and Trump Administration, that the feds' case against their proposed merger is "improper selective enforcement of the antitrust laws."  That came in its official response to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit following DOJ's suit to block the deal, which was filed in that court.

They said the merger is "a procompetitive, pro-consumer response to an intensely competitive and rapidly changing video marketplace," and that the government doesn't have a legitimate case against it.

"The fact that Google, one of the most sophisticated and well-funded companies in the world, launched its video platform without any Time Warner channels confirms not only that the television ecosystem is awash in content, but that Time Warner’s networks are not, in any antitrust sense of the word, essential to attracting and retaining subscribers," they told the court. 

They said the deal presents "absolutely" no harm to competition or consumers. The companies pointed out that Justice and the FCC agreed to allow the Comcast/NBUC vertical merger with conditions enforceable via baseball-style arbitration. They said they fully expected that would be the case with their deal, given that "Comcast is typically the clear pay-TV leader in its local service areas and NBCUniversal owns one of the Big Four broadcast networks." They also said they were ready to accept the same seven-year arbitration condition for any of the Turner networks, and agree that none of those networks would go dark on any Turner distributor during that arbitration.

AT&T/TW Accuse DOJ of Selective Enforcement