It's official, war has been declared in the world of mega mergers. The Department of Justice is planning to file a lawsuit to protect us all from AT&T's evil ambition to own CNN.
The $85B deal had been awaiting regulatory approval for over a year until a few weeks ago, when it emerged that the DOJ had objections. Today they detailed a few of those objections in a PR about its lawsuit plans. Basically, the fear is that AT&T would be able to force cable companies to pay vast sums to have access to TW content (e.g. from HBO, CNN, TBS, and Warner Bros.), leading to higher cable bills.
It's more than a bit puzzling politically. The pro-advocacy Obama administration let Comcast/NBC go by with a few restrictions on behavior despite being the anti-trust party, while the supposedly pro-business Trump administration is drawing a line in the sand. Even Trump's antipathy toward CNN seemed unlikely to generate that dynamic, but something did and so here we are.
So do we go to court? Or does AT&T take its ball and go home? AT&T appears ready to fight, and no doubt their lawyers are ready to do just that. But on the other hand, they don't have any particularly eager friends in their corner.