AT&T argues Time Warner cannot effectively compete against tech giants without a digital partner. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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In the biggest antitrust court battle in decades, the U.S. government will seek to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner to prevent the creation of a powerful new television behemoth.The Justice Department filed suit in November to block the planned $85 billion tie-up of AT&T, one of the dominant telecom and internet firms, with media-entertainment powerhouse Time Warner.The Justice Department argues in its trial brief that the tie-up would be bad for competition and would raise prices.The brief argues that AT&T could withhold or demand higher prices for prime television content like Time Warner unit HBO's "Game of Thrones," or sports from Turner Broadcasting.AT&T meanwhile makes the case that competition concerns are overblown because the two companies operate in different segments: One is a distributor, the other a creator of content.The AT&T brief maintains that the television landscape is being dramatically changed by "the spectacular rise of Netflix, Amazon, Google, and other vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer technology companies.While some analysts have claimed the case is politically motivated, Judge Richard Leon denied to hear evidence showing AT&T was singled out for prosecution.
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