AT&T fights back against DOJ: Merger is 'pro-consumer'

AT&T fights back against DOJ: Merger is 'pro-consumer'
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AT&T is pushing back on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) arguments against its proposed merger with Time Warner. 

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In its formal response to the DOJ on Tuesday, the company said that, because the television industry has changed with the rise of platforms like Netflix and Hulu, the merger deal is actually “a pro-competitive, pro-consumer response to an intensely competitive and rapidly changing video marketplace.”

DOJ has said it fears that after the merger AT&T could use its leverage in owning both Time Warner and DirecTV to withhold programming from other distributors. Time Warner currently owns several prominent networks like CNN, TBS and TNT.

In its court filing, AT&T said that is has already offered to give third-party distributors the same arbitration protections that were given in the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. It says those protections would ensure that distributors can't be strong-armed into unfair deals.

The DOJ’s antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, has said those types of extra merger conditions are difficult to enforce and shouldn’t be included in the review of a deal’s impact.

It's up to the U.S. District Court in Washington to make a final decision on the fate of the deal.