In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Trump Administration Sues to Block Time Warner Merger

Did you see the photobomb behind the AT&T-Time Warner deal?

President Trump tweeted it earlier this year. The fake video shows him pouncing on a CNN-faced victim at a wrestling event.

Strangely, it's the backstory to the proposed merger and is more interesting than the news. The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to block the deal, and CNN is being dragged into the fight.

CNN Story

Time Warner owns CNN, which the President has doggedly put down for "fake news." According to reports, AT&T will try to find out whether the White House improperly influenced the lawsuit to stop its proposed merger with Time Warner.

"AT&T intends to seek court permission for access to communications between the White House and the Justice Department about the takeover," Bloomberg reported.

The White House and the Justice Department have denied any collusion, but it's starting to sound a little like the Russia deal. Did Trump have anything to do with it?

During his campaign, Trump said he would oppose the merger because it would place "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." That was more than a year ago, and a lot has happened since then.

Vertical Merger

Prior to the lawsuit, Politico reported that the Justice Department was pressuring AT&T and Time Warner to offload CNN to win the administration's approval of the merger. The companies refused.

David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said the deal would not remove any competitors from the market. He said such "vertical mergers" are "routinely approved."

"We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently," he said in a statement. "We are confident that the Court will reject the Government's claims and permit this merger under longstanding legal precedent."

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