US Justice Department fails to overturn AT&T-Time Warner merger

1 Mar 2019

The US Justice Department has failed in its attempt to overturn AT&T’s USD85 billion takeover of entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, after the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled that its case was ‘unpersuasive’. The Justice Department lodged its appeal against the merger in July 2018 – just weeks after the long-running deal closed.

At the time Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court in Washington took the unusual step of warning the government not to try to seek a stay, saying it would hurt the defendants, which had already gone through an 18-month regulatory and legal battle for their review. While Judge Leon admitted that an appeal was ‘fair game’, he pointed out that the investigation and legal proceedings had run up a ‘staggering cost’ for both the companies and the government.

David McAtee, AT&T’s General Counsel, commented: ‘The merger of these innovative companies has already yielded significant consumer benefits, and it will continue to do so for years to come. While we respect the important role that the US Department of Justice plays in the merger review process, we trust that today’s unanimous decision from the DC Circuit will end this litigation.’

United States, AT&T, Time Warner Inc