AGs Back AT&T in TW Merger Suit

Attorneys general from nine states have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking that court to uphold a district court decision that the Justice Department DOJ did not make its case for blocking the deal.

The AGs pointed out that not only do they not support DOJ's appeal, but not a single state joined Justice's original unsuccessful antitrust suit to block the deal, an absence of state participation they say is a rare occurrence. 

For example, states weighed in on the Comcast-NBCUniversal deal--though Justice did not sue to block the meld.

The state AGs said the district court's decision that DOJ's case against the deal was without merit validated the absence of State support for the suit.

Related: AT&T Says DOJ's Fragile Case Against Time Warner Merger Doesn't Hold Up

They said the appeals court now hearing the DOJ challenge to the district court decision should affirm the lower court.

“State attorneys general play an important role in merger antitrust enforcement, and none joined DOJ’s effort to block our merger," said AT&T general counsel David McAtee. "Now, we are honored that a bipartisan group of these enforcement officials have affirmatively stepped forward in support of the District Court’s decision rejecting DOJ’s claims.”

Joining the brief were Wisconsin AG Brad D. Schimel (R); Kentucky AG Andy Beshear (D); Alabama AG: Steve Marshall (R); Georgia AG Christopher Carr (R); Louisiana AG Jeff Landry (R); Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter (R); New Mexico AG Hector H. Balderas (D); South Carolina AG: Alan Wilson (R); and Utah AG Sean Reyes (R).

AT&T has already closed on the deal.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.