The trial has concluded, for now. Judge Richard Leon, who also presided over a trial involving Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA) acquisition of NBCUniversal back in 2011, said he plans to issue his ruling by June 12, only nine days before the merger's expiration date.
During closing arguments, Dan Petrocelli, counsel for AT&T-Time Warner, said the DOJ's case was a "house of cards" that relies on the economic model by University of California Berkeley economist Carl Shapiro, an expert witness for the government, TheStreet's Chris Nolter reported. The model contained too many flaws for Petrocelli to address in a 90-minute closing statement, the lawyer said. "I'd be here for hours," he said.
The government argued that DirecTV parent AT&T will have the "incentive and ability" to drive prices higher for rival pay-television companies if it buys Time Warner. By threatening a blackout, Justice argued, Time Warner's Turner networks can jack up prices for networks such as CNN, TNT and TBS. Earlier Monday the government urged Judge Richard Leon to reject the merger, or at least to require the sale of either DirecTV or the Turner networks.
The Justice Department, AT&T and Time Warner must wait about six weeks for Leon to announce the fate of the merger. Read more of Nolter's analysis here.