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United States of America v. AT&T, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
310 F. Supp. 3d 161 (D.D.C. 2018) aff'd, 916 F.3d 1029 (D.C. Cir. 2019)


The government (plaintiff) filed an antitrust lawsuit to enjoin Time Warner’s merger with AT&T (defendants), claiming it would substantially impede competition in the video programming and distribution market. Specifically, the merger would allow AT&T to control “must have” Turner TV network’s lineup of hit shows, live sporting events, and other popular programming. The complaint alleged AT&T would raise prices for Turner programming that other video distributors could not negotiate without risking blackouts, which drive customers to other providers. The government also claimed that AT&T would use Turner programming to thwart online distributors of similar content and impede entry into the market. Other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) produced studies showing they would likely lose significant numbers of subscribers without Turner TV, which would force them to pay more for it than before. Last, the MVPDs could no longer offer HBO to attract new customers. Experts and executives on both sides testified as to the merger’s anticipated effects.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Leon, J.)

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