Antitrust Chief Says AT&T Faces Same Time Warner Deal Condition

(Bloomberg) -- AT&T Inc.’s planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. might be approved by U.S. regulators if Turner Broadcasting assets are severed from the merged company, the Justice Department’s top antitrust enforcer said at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

That’s the same offer regulators made before suing for a court order to block the $85 billion deal, Makan Delrahim said Monday at the conference in Beverly Hills, California. The Turner Broadcasting assets include CNN, one of President Donald Trump’s favorite Twitter targets.

The trial in that case is winding up, with Justice Department lawyers making their final arguments to the judge who will determine whether the deal will reduce competition. Next up will be AT&T’s lawyers making their closing argument against blocking the transaction.

Delrahim declined to weigh in on T-Mobile US Inc.’s $26.5 billion takeover of Sprint Corp., saying when asked about the deal only that T-Mobile has “done a great job of competing in that market.” He said later, “We will take a look to see what the market will look like, just like any other antitrust case.”

As for Inc., another Trump target, Delrahim said regulators would need to have an analytical framework to determine whether the online retailer’s practices are monopolistic.

“We can’t just willy nilly go to court and say this is a good idea,” he said. “If there is credible evidence, I’d encourage people to bring it to the Justice Department.”

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