US Judge considering decision on AT&T-Time Warner deal

Vastavam web: The judge who will decide if AT&T (T.N) will be allowed to buy movie and TV show maker Time Warner indicated on Monday that he could be considering a decision that wasn’t a clear approval or blocking of the $85 billion deal.In his closing remarks, U.S. Justice Department lawyer Craig Conrath asked for the planned transaction to be stopped. “Consumers will be worse off and that’s why this merger ought to be blocked,” he said. In the absence of blocking it, Conrath urged the judge to consider a divestiture, or asset sale.

In his summation, Daniel Petrocelli, speaking for AT&T and Time Warner, argued against any ruling that would, for example, require AT&T to sell DirecTV, which has more than 20 million subscribers, in order to purchase Time Warner. “That is an effort to kill the deal,” he said.The judge’s decision will guide dealmakers on how aggressive they can be with ‘vertical mergers’, where one company buys another in the same industry but operating at a different point in the supply chain. Regulators approve the vast majority of vertical deals.