U.S. court OKs speedy appeal of AT&T-Time Warner tie-up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday approved the U.S.

Reuters July 20, 2018 04:05:16 IST
U.S. court OKs speedy appeal of AT&T-Time Warner tie-up

US court OKs speedy appeal of ATTTime Warner tieup

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday approved the U.S. Justice Department's request for an expedited schedule for an appeal of a judge's ruling that allowed AT&T Inc to buy content provider Time Warner.

The department said last Thursday that it would appeal a federal judge's approval of the $85.4 billion acquisition.

The court approved the Justice Department request that legal briefs must be completed by Oct. 18, with oral arguments "as soon as practicable." That would be a significantly faster-than-normal timetable for an appeals court to hear a case.

The Justice Department said on Wednesday, in requesting the expedited schedule, that AT&T, which owns DirecTV, could use Time Warner's Turner content, especially live sports and news, to raise the costs of smaller, rival pay TV companies.

"The merged firm will have the incentive and the ability to raise its rivals' costs and stifle growth of innovative next-generation entrants," the department said in the filing.

Essentially, they argued, AT&T could push smaller pay TV companies to pay more for Turner's CNN and sports programming, increases that would be passed on to U.S. consumers. They also argued that withholding Turner content from online distributors, such as Hulu, would stunt the development of cheaper online video.

The Justice Department said this week that District Court Judge Richard Leon "rejected fundamental principles of economics" in his decision to rule for the companies. Leon had called one of the government's arguments against the deal "gossamer thin" and another "poppycock."

Under an agreement with the Justice Department, the companies closed the deal in June.

One of the many people who are sceptical that the government will prevail is AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, who said last week that the original court decision was well reasoned. "We think the likelihood of this thing being reversed or overturned is really remote," he said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Diane Bartz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Oil rises 2% as OPEC complies with production cuts
Business

Oil rises 2% as OPEC complies with production cuts

By Jessica Resnick-Ault NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices strengthened on Wednesday, as OPEC and its allies were seen complying with a pact to cut oil supply in September, even as concerns loomed that recovery in fuel demand will be stalled by soaring global coronavirus cases. Early in the day crude was boosted by a bullish stock market. Even as equities whipsawed on pandemic worries, oil stayed higher, buoyed by expectations that OPEC could staunch a supply glut

Tesla's back-to-back price cuts bring sticker on U.S. Model S below $70,000
Business

Tesla's back-to-back price cuts bring sticker on U.S. Model S below $70,000

By Tina Bellon and C Nivedita (Reuters) - Tesla Inc will further cut the price of its Model S "Long Range" sedan in the United States to $69,420, the electric carmaker's chief executive, Elon Musk, announced in a tweet https://bit.ly/2H0JCP0 on Wednesday. The anticipated drop marks the second time this week Tesla has cut the price for the high-end sedan, following a 4% cut of the Model S's price in the United States on Tuesday to $71,990.

Trump cites teenaged son's bout with coronavirus in calling for schools to reopen
World

Trump cites teenaged son's bout with coronavirus in calling for schools to reopen

By Jeff Mason DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Under siege over his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday cited what he said was his son's mild bout of the virus as a reason why American schools should reopen as soon as possible. Trump made the comment about his son, Barron, as the president swept into Iowa on a mission to shore up support in battleground states that he won in 2016 but is in danger of losing to Democrat Joe Biden barely three weeks before the election. First lady Melania Trump announced in a statement earlier in the day that the virus that struck both her and her husband had also infected their 14-year-old son