The U.S. Department of Justice and AT&T are set to face-off in court on Monday at 10 a.m. EST over the company's $85 billion agreement to buy media giant Time Warner Inc.
The Justice Department is seeking to block the transaction, arguing that the combined companies would force rivals to pay more for “must-have” content from the Turner Networks, including TBS, CNN and TNT, and that the result would be higher prices for consumers. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., will hear the case that may settle one of the biggest antitrust issues of modern times.
The merger trial, dubbed as the trial of the century, could determine whether antitrust enforcers will have real practical authority to challenge so-called vertical mergers involving two complementary companies that operate at different levels of the same industry. Typically, the government challenges unions of direct competitors that sell similar products and services, or horizontal mergers.
The trial may last eight weeks, meanwhile, opening arguments are expected to be put off to Wednesday.
Curt Hessler, lecturer in law at UCLA where he teaches antitrust and information law; he is the former chairman and CEO of 101 Communications, now called 1105 Media, a media services company that publishes technical materials for IT professionals