Reports: AT&T, DOJ Agree to Disagree

According to various reports, the Justice Department and AT&T have informed the court officially that they were not able to settle their differences over the proposed Time Warner purchase.

AT&T and Time Warner have also agreed not to consummate the deal until the court renders its judgment, which AT&T could appeal if it goes against it.

According to court documents, the various mileposts have been set for the trial process--DOJ sued to block the deal, asserting the combined company's ability and incentive to discriminate against competitors in terms of access to must-have programming, like sports.

For example, the respective sides will exchange preliminary witness lists Jan. 3, pre-trial motions and briefs are due March 9, final exhibits are due March 15, and the trial begins March 15.

While the parties could not settle, and the government initially did not like AT&T's proposed timeline for the trial--DOJ thought AT&T was rushing it, according to court documents--the parties agreed to the schedule "following extensive discussions and compromises."

(Photo via Bill Bradford's Flickr. Image taken on March 4, 2016 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)

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.