U.S. sues to block AT&T purchase of Time Warner

U.S. sues to block AT&T purchase of Time Warner

U.S. sues to block AT&T purchase of Time Warner

A suit to block the merger suggests the combination of the largest US pay-TV provider and No. 2 wireless carrier with a media company that includes Turner Broadcasting (CNN, TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and TruTV), HBO, and Warner Bros. film studio was seen by the DOJ as too much connectivity and content under AT&T's umbrella.

That "combined power" would let AT&T "use its control over Time Warner's popular and valuable 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 official said.

AT&T and Time Warner announced their $85 billion merger previous year but the closing has been dragged out by the government's anti-trust review.

"Today's DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent", said David McAtee II, senior executive vice president and general counsel at AT&T, in a statement.

The DOJ's case against the merger suggests that together, the companies would control so much of both what people watch and how they watch it, that they could push both competitors and consumers to pay more.

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"Throughout this process, I have never offered to sell CNN and have no intention of doing so", Randall Stephenson said in a statement provided to ABC News.

"The combination of AT&T [and] DirectTV's vast distribution infrastructure, and Time Warner's extremely popular television programming would be one of the largest mergers in American history", the official added.

The deal instantly became a political lightning rod. The Justice Department and the White House have denied that this is an effort to punish CNN for coverage Donald Trump has hated.

This follows a period filled with reports that the DOJ demanded AT&T and Time Warner sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN.

An AT&T spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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