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In what some see as a surprise move, the Department of Justice filed suit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, claiming the merger would harm consumers, innovation, and competition. AT&T has announced that it plans to fight the challenge in court, asserting that it and Time Warner are not competitors, that the merger would allow AT&T to compete with Google and Facebook, and that the Justice Department has a long history of approving such vertical mergers. In addition to contrasting interests in vertical versus horizontal mergers, the case presents an opportunity to examine structural remedies (including a requirement that merging companies spin off certain assets to gain merger approval) versus consent decrees, which typically restrict company behavior after a merger is completed and might require monitoring of the merged entity by the government. These and other issues will be discussed.
Prof. Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and Director, Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law
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