Bad news bears.
The Justice Department has filed an appeal against the $85 billion merger of AT&T Inc. (T) - Get Report and Time Warner Inc. after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled in June to allow the deal to go through.
The Justice Department had argued earlier that the deal was anti-competitive because of the danger that AT&T would have the opportunity to charge certain rival pay-TV companies more for some cable channels, driving up consumers' cable bills.
In June, TheStreet reported, Daniel Petrocelli, the lead attorney for AT&T and a partner at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, spoke to the media outside the courthouse, where he touted the clearance as a win for consumers and a "sound and proper rejection of all of the government's arguments" to block the merger.
"We're disappointed that it took eighteen months to get here, but we are relieved that's in finally behind us," he said. "We look forward to close this transaction in the upcoming days," he added, noting that it would be final no later than June 20.
Addressing the effect of the decision on other deals pending in the marketplace, Petrocelli was circumspect. "Each and every one of these transactions stands on its own, as this one did," he said.
He also implied that the DOJ was on a witch hunt that failed to prove any competitive harms from the deal. "After a massive investigation that spanned over a year, after an intensive pre-trial discovery process, and after a grueling six-week trial, the government could present no credible proof in support any of its theories."
Reacting to the judge's recommendation that the DOJ not seek a stay of the ruling, Petrocelli said that the court recognizes that the defendants were "subjected to this interminable delay" since the merger was announced in October 2016.
In reaction to the news of the DOJ's appeal, AT&T's General Counsel, David McAtee said, "The Court's decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned. While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances. We are ready to defend the Court's decision at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals."
AT&T fell 1.5% in post market trading.