The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) today strongly criticized the district court’s rejection of the government’s lawsuit to block the merger of AT&T-Time Warner. “We are deeply disappointed that the judge rejected the DOJ’s strong case to block this perniciously anticompetitive deal,” said AAI President, Diana Moss. “Competition, innovation, consumers, and diversity in the media will, without doubt, suffer as a result,” she added.
The AAI praised the DOJ for bringing the case against the proposed merger which would likely result in the exclusion of rival distributors, raise the prices of Time Warner content, threaten the viability of more innovative online content distribution models, and create incentives for vertically integrated content-distribution platforms such as Comcast-NBCU and AT&T-Time Warner to engage in anticompetitive coordination, rather than compete.
The AAI has long advocated that competition in media content and distribution is especially critical. The merger threatens a massive restructuring of the media content-distribution supply chain. “This setback in antitrust enforcement, coupled with the recent rollback in network neutrality rules is a ’one-two punch’ for competition and consumers,” said Moss.
"The work of competition and consumer advocacy groups like AAI is even more important than ever before,” she added. The AAI encourages the DOJ to continue to show resolve in vigorously enforcing the antitrust laws against other potentially anticompetitive vertical mergers and to seriously consider appealing the decision.