Government Asks Judge To Force AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) To Sell Turner Or Directv


Just a few weeks after the Justice Department file a lawsuit seeking to block AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) from purchasing Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), both sides have made their final submission hence casting the ball in Judge Richard Leon’s court. The purchase deal is worth $85 billion.

In the post-trial comments, attorneys representing the Justice Department appealed to the judge not to approve the deal. They requested that if the Judge does approve the transaction, then he should direct AT&T to sell DirecTV or Time Warner’s Turner networks, which include TNT, TBS, HLN and CNN.

Antitrust remedies

The judge had asked both parties to apportion some of their post-trial briefs and offer remedies in form of conditions which he could impose on the transactions so as to protect consumers from anticompetitive harm. Antitrust remedies include promising that you won’t in some practices or agreeing to be under some oversight or can be structural like forcing a company to sell off some its parts.

However, if the judge was seeking to new ideas from both sides, then he chances are high that he was disappointed. In its post-trial briefs, the government asked for the same remedies it had proposed before and during the trial. On their side, the attorneys representing AT&T and Time Warner said they don’t believe that any remedies will be necessary. This is a show of confidence that the judge will rule in their favor.

For a long time, AT&T has been against the idea of selling either DirecTV or Turner indicating that this could negate the whole idea of the merger. The company urges that the merger is necessary to allow it stay favorably compete in a fast-changing business landscape which comprise companies like Alphabet Inc Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL),, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook, Inc. Common Stock (NASDAQ:FB), and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)

A report has indicated that AT&T was considering offering the Justice Department a deal agreeing to sell off 20% stake in Turner and maintain 80%. However, in its post-trial comments, the Justice Department declined the offer saying it would not be enough and insisted that AT&T should not be allowed to have majority stake in Turner while at the same time owning DirecTV.