AT&T/TW: ‘Merger not anti-competitive’
March 12, 2018
AT&T and Time Warner have argued in court documents filed on March 9th that competition with online media players would prevent prices from rising if the proposed $85.4 billion (€78.5bn) merger is allowed to proceed.
“HBO faces greater competition than ever from other premium channels like Showtime and Starz, and from subscriber video on-demand services like Netflix,” the pair said, suggesting that “there is no fact-based evidence that this merger will harm competition. Nothing will be withheld from competitors; consumer prices will not go up.”
In concluding the brief, they sat: “This merger will provide substantial benefits to consumers and, contrary to the government’s contentions, will strengthen rather than harm competition in these markets. For those reasons, and based on the evidence to be adduced at trial, this Court should grant judgment for defendants and permit this merger to proceed.”
The US Department of Justice (DoJ), which has sued to block the merger, contends that it would significantly harm competition in the industry and drive up prices for consumers. According to the DoJ’s complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in November 2017, the combined company would use its control over Time Warner’s valuable and highly popular networks to hinder its rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute those networks. “The combined company would also use its increased power to slow the industry’s transition to new and exciting video distribution models that provide greater choice for consumers, resulting in fewer innovative offerings and higher bills for American families,” it said.