On Thursday the US government launched an appeal of a court ruling that gave AT&T the green light for its $80bn takeover of entertainment company Time Warner, reported the Financial Times (FT) and The Wall Street Journal, and will attempt to undo the merger that was completed by the companies shortly after.
Although AT&T closed the acquisition, it agreed to keep Time Warner’s cable networks in a business unit separate from AT&T’s communication assets for now, in case the government chose to appeal.
However, the plan to file an appeal is facing pushback from the US Solicitor General’s office, which must approve appeals from the Justice Department in any federal court or the Supreme Court, FBN reported.
Earlier, one official told Fox Business News that the office of US Solicitor General Noel Francisco had been reluctant to file the appeal as he believed that “the government has limited capabilities of successful appeals and you don’t want to squander those on cases that are borderline.”US District Judge Richard Leon ruled on June 12 that AT&T could move forward with its purchase of Time Warner, giving the telecommunications giant an entry point to the content business.
The FT reports that when Judge Leon handed down his opinion last month, antitrust lawyers noted that he had ruled narrowly on the evidence in the case in an apparent attempt to reduce the likelihood of a successful appeal. US appeals courts give greater deference to judges on findings of facts as opposed to interpretations of the law.
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