The Justice Department is going to appeal the AT&T-Time Warner merger

AT&T Time Warner

The AT&T deal sees the telco taking ownership of Time Warner's principal divisions: premium cablenet HBO, channel operator Turner and studio Warner Bros, which includes film and television divisions. "We are ready to defend the (lower court ruling) at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals".

AT&T's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner is once again facing a regulatory battle with the US Department of Justice.

Federal lawyers contended that the combined company would be too large and powerful, allowing it to run roughshod over other players in the entertainment and media world and to hike prices on consumers.

In his decision, Leon rejected the government's argument that acquiring Time Warner will give AT&T the power to raise prices that cable and satellite-TV companies pay for Time Warner content such as CNN, which in turn will lead to higher bills for consumers.

AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said Thursday however that U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling "could hardly". The company said in court papers filed last month that it will maintain that structure until the earlier of February 28 of next year or the conclusion of the government's appeal.

The Department of Justice on Thursday is appealing (via Bloomberg) the case on the grounds of antitrust.

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The merger, first announced in October 2016, was opposed by President Donald Trump.

AT&T is a phone, cable and satellite behemoth that became the biggest pay-TV provider in the USA with its acquisition of DirecTV in 2014.

AT&T argued, during the trial, that it needed to grow to survive in the era of Google, Amazon and Netflix.

Tile combination of pictures created on October 21, 2016 shows an AT&T cellphone store in Springfield, Va., and the Time Warner logo on the front of the company's headquarters building in NY.

That apparently wasn't enough, however, to satisfy the Justice Department. It will also set a precedent for companies planning to make similar deals, such as Fox and Disney.

Waiting in the wings are potential big-billions deals involving Verizon and CBS and T-Mobile and Sprint.

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