Consumers Union: There are Legitimate Reasons for DOJ to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger

Experts

Senior Policy Counsel
Senior Policy Counsel
Sr. Media Relations Associate

Monday, November 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Justice (DOJ) today is reportedly filing a lawsuit to block the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner.

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, applauded the DOJ’s decision. The consumer group has continually highlighted the merger’s potential to hurt competition, limit consumer choice and drive up costs, as well as undermine net neutrality protections and allow AT&T to prioritize its content over others.

Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “A merger between AT&T and Time Warner is a bad deal for consumers and the DOJ is making the right decision by rejecting it. Combining AT&T and Time Warner would create a massive telecommunications and media company with its fingers in almost every pot of these increasingly connected industries. A merger of this sort and magnitude — combining one of the largest wireless and video providers with one of the largest content producers — could create unprecedented opportunities for AT&T to maximize the value of Time Warner’s premium content in ways that could drive up consumer costs and stifle competition and consumer choice.

“We’re still waiting on previous mergers that claimed ‘bigger will be better’ to deliver on their promises to consumers. A combined AT&T/Time Warner would likely be no different. So-called ‘behavioral conditions’ haven’t proven effective in protecting competition, so the Antitrust Division is right to take stronger action to block this deal. While reports of political pressures regarding this deal are concerning, the fact remains that there are serious, legitimate reasons this merger should be blocked. We are pleased the DOJ is moving forward with this suit in order to protect consumer interests.”