Justice Department to Appeal AT&T/Time Warner Decision

The U.S. Justice Department today filed a notice of appeal, indicating that they planned to continue fighting AT&T's now-completed acquisition of Time Warner.

“Notice is hereby given that the United States of America, plaintiff in the above named case, hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from the final judgment entered in this action on June 12, 2018,” the DOJ said in its filing.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of AT&T-Time Warner, and while the Trump Administration didn't seem happy about it, there was no immediate indication that they would appeal. The final stages of the acquisition went through shortly after.

The Justice Department had objected to the merger, saying that when a content provider like Time Warner is merged with a company like AT&T, which controls a large portion of the physical infrastructure to deliver content, it is bad for the rest of the industry and potentially for consumers.

Critics argued that the deal is not materially dissimilar to the NBC Universal/Comcast deal that already went through a few years ago, and some analysts argued that Time Warner was being singled out for enforcement due to U.S. President Donald Trump's dislike for the Time Warner-owned CNN.

For those in the nerd world, AT&T's purchase of Time Warner could have several different ramifications. For one thing, Time Warner's assets will include both Warner Bros. and DC Comics, something that could have ramifications on both companies' future outputs. With Aquaman, Shazam!, and Wonder Woman 2 all in various stages of production, and a slew of more DC-inspired films in the cards, there's no telling what kind of impact this merger could have. According to a report back in February, the potential failure of the deal could have led to Warner Bros. potentially selling off its DC Comics-related assets, something that seemingly seems to not be in the cards now.

The deal will also include other blockbuster franchises in Warner Bros.' library, such as The Wizarding World, Legendary's "Monsterverse" of films, The Lego Movie, and the highly-anticipated sequel to It. It also will affect networks such as HBO, TNT, and CNN.

The AT&T-Time Warner merger also provided a green flag for Comcast to make a bid for the assets of 21st Century Fox, interrupting and potentially upsetting Disney's deal to acquire those same assets. Fox's Rupert Murdoch had reportedly dismissed overtures from Comcast, citing regulatory concerns, but reversed that position after the AT&T-Time Warner deal was approved. With word that Comcast may be ready to drop out of the Fox bidding war already, an appeal by the DOJ seems likely to seal the Disney/Fox deal.

h/t Variety