AT&T-Time Warner in jeopardy as DOJ blocks deal

From CNET: It looks like "Game of Thrones" and the "Justice League" may not be heading to AT&T after all.

The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T's pending acquisition of Time Warner, saying the $85 billion deal would concentrate too much power in one company. Time Warner is the media giant behind movie studio Warner Bros., premium cable channel HBO and the TV stations under Turner Broadcasting, including CNN. Having control over popular networks, the DOJ said, would allow AT&T to charge its competition more for the right to distribute its popular programming.

"The combined company would use its control over Time Warner's valuable and highly popular 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 DOJ said in a statement. The combination would result in higher cable bills, the agency said.

AT&T, which saw the Justice Department block its proposed acquisition of T-Mobile six years ago, defended the deal, saying it's not trying to buy a competitor. Because Time Warner isn't in the same business, it says, there would be no overlap if the two companies combined.

"Today's DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent," AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement. "We see no legitimate reason for our merger to be treated differently."

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