United States v. At&T, Inc.

310 F.Supp.3d 161 (D.D.C. 2018)


P challenged a vertical merger that would unite Time Warner with D. P claims that the merger is likely to substantially lessen competition in the video programming and distribution market nationwide. The merger would enable D to use Time Warner's 'must have' television content to either raise its rivals' video programming costs or, by way of a 'blackout,' drive those same rivals' customers to its subsidiary, DirecTV. Consumers nationwide would be harmed by increased prices for access to Turner networks, notwithstanding P's concession that this vertical merger would result in hundreds of millions of dollars in annual cost savings to D's customers and notwithstanding the fact that no competitor will be eliminated by the merger's proposed vertical integration. D claims that high-speed internet access has facilitated a 'veritable explosion' of new, innovative video content and advertising offerings over the past five years. D points out that vertically integrated entities like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have achieved remarkable success in creating and providing affordable, on-demand video content directly to viewers over the internet. D claims consumers are choosing to abandon their traditional cable- or satellite- TV packages for cheaper content alternatives available over the internet. Time Warner could provide D with the ability to experiment with and develop innovative video content and advertising offerings for AT&T's many video and wireless customers, and AT&T could afford Time Warner access to customer relationships and valuable data about its programming. Both companies could stop 'chasing taillights' and catch up with the competition. P seeks to enjoin the proposed merger on the basis that it violates Section 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 18.