US: Senators call for Sessions AT&T-Time Warner merger scrutiny

The top senators on the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel are urging the Department of Justice to scrutinize the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger for the possibility that it leads to anticompetitive practices.

The subcommittee’s chair, Sen. Mike Lee, and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions pointing to aspects of the deal that they find troubling.

“The proposed transaction raises complex questions that will require a fact-intensive investigation that has yet to be completed, as well as a deep understanding of the economics of the digital content creation and distribution markets,” reads the letter.

The senators point to the fact that Time Warner owns popular networks like CNN, HBO, TBS and TNT, and would be in a position to charge more for content from those channels and suppress content from their competitors.

“As a result, AT&T would be both a distributor of and competitor to many content providers,” the letter adds. “AT&T could conclude that it’s beneficial to limit competing content providers’ access to AT&T’s distribution services.”

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