AT&T Proposes Concessions to Resolve DOJ Dispute Over TW Deal

AT&T is willing to agree to conditions, but not selling assets, to resolve its legal dispute with the U.S. Department of Justice over the proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. Speaking to the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Time Warner’s Turner networks notified distributors that if the deal closes, the merged entity would agree not to block channels during carriage disputes; it would also agree to arbitration as a way to resolve a pricing dispute, reported Variety.

The conditions would last for seven years. They’re meant to address the DOJ’s concerns that AT&T would block premium Turner cable channels from competitors, or raise prices for that content. “We have taken that off the table. I think we have demonstrated a willingness to make reasonable concessions,” Stephenson said.

Prior to the lawsuit, there were rumors the DOJ said the carrier would have to sell its Turner division, which includes CNN, or DirecTV, in order to get the deal approved. Stephenson said such a sale “hints at First Amendment issues” and AT&T is not going to sell, he said, according to Variety.

Inside Towers reported AT&T is ready for a trial court to take on the DOJ. A federal judge has set December 7 as the pretrial hearing date.

December 1, 2017

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