The Justice Department will appeal the AT&T-Time Warner merger approval, according to a court document filed Thursday. Shares of AT&T slipped more than 1 percent in after-hours trading Thursday. AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said the company was surprised by the appeal.
“The Court’s decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned. While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances,” McAtee said in a statement. “We are ready to defend the Court’s decision at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.”
In June, a federal judge ruled that the $85.4 billion deal was legal and imposed no conditions on the merger. At the time, the Justice Department expressed its disappointment with the ruling. The government argued that the deal would make the pay-TV market “less competitive and less innovative.”
CNN Money reports:
Now the case will go to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel will hear the appeal. In theory, the case could end up in front of the Supreme Court, something some people in the legal community have been hoping for, since the Supreme Court has not taken up a merger case since the 1970s.