Trial briefs due today in the case of the Justice Dept. vs. AT&T (NYSE:T) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) have been filed.
In AT&T and Time Warner’s pretrial brief, AT&T argues that there’s “no fact-based evidence” that the $85B merger shouldn’t proceed.
The government itself has said vertical mergers “should be allowed to proceed except in those few cases where convincing, fact-based evidence relating to the specific circumstances of the vertical merger indicates likely competitive harm,” AT&T explains.
AT&T argues that the government’s own economic expert determined the deal would raise pay TV subscriber prices by just 45 cents a month. But is there truth to this?
The government’s theory about Turner price increases for rival distributors “fails on both the facts and the law,” AT&T says.
It also argues that a government theory that the new company would coordinate with Comcast to withhold programming from virtual MVPDs also fails.
A third government theory, that AT&T/Time Warner would limit HBO’s use as as “promotional tool,” is “illogical and contrary to the evidence,” AT&T says.
In the government’s brief, the DOJ argues that consumers will pay more if the deal goes through, to the tune of “hundreds of millions” of dollars.
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