The feds' lawsuit over Dodgers channel will make it harder for AT&T to buy Time Warner
Opponents of AT&T’s deal to buy Time Warner said the collusion suit was another reason for regulators to reject the deal. Above, an AT&T store in New York
AT&T Inc.’s hopes of completing its $85.4-billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. depends on convincing federal regulators that they should allow one of the nation’s telecommunications giants to become even bigger.
Getting hit with a collusion lawsuit doesn’t help make that case, particularly for a deal that already has drawn bipartisan criticism, antitrust experts and consumer advocates said.
The Department of Justice on Wednesday sued AT&T’s DirecTV unit, alleging it was “the ringleader” in unlawful efforts to prevent widespread carriage of the SportsNet LA television channel owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Making matter worse for AT&T, the Justice Department is the same agency that must review the Time Warner deal to make sure it passes antitrust muster.
“All things being equal, you don’t want to be sued by the DOJ when you’re trying to get a merger approved by the DOJ,” said John Bergmayer, senior counsel at digital rights group Public Knowledge. “I don’t think it helps them.” Not happening