Over the objections of AT&T and Time Warner’s merger, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to permit 27 antitrust scholars to speak at a hearing later this week, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
This Thursday, December 6, the US government will continue its efforts to block the US$85 billion deal between AT&T and Time Warner. The merging parties have expressed confidence going into oral arguments before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and will likely be favored in their attempt to uphold a trial court’s determination that the tie-up isn’t enough of a competitive threat to be in violation of the Clayton Act.
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. The decision to allow new voices is somewhat extraordinary and perhaps a new reason for hope for the Justice Department (DOJ).
The scholars include, among others, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, former DOJ antitrust chief A. Douglas Melamed, and Herbert Hovenkamp, who has authored a leading treatise on antitrust law.