AT&T and Time Warner are in court now, defending its proposed merger against the Justice Department, who is suing to block the merger. This merger was announced at the end of the Presidential race in 2016, in which both candidates had vowed to block the merger, and with Donald Trump becoming President, he is holding his promise. The trial started yesterday, and the morning was mostly full of deciding on what evidence should be brought up in this case.
Not a whole lot has happened just yet, in this case, as it has literally just started. But the trial is expected to last around six weeks. It's an antitrust trial, and those trials are never quick. The Justice Department is planning to call up executives from AT&T competitors, including an executive from YouTube TV during the trial. The reasoning behind this is to demonstrate how important Time Warner content is to YouTube TV's platform (and the same goes for other streaming TV services like Sling TV and PlayStation VUE). And with AT&T attempting to buy some of the most popular content, like CNN and HBO, it wouldn't be too crazy to see AT&T up the price for that content, to its rivals. However, it's also expected that the government could force AT&T to spin off the content part of Time Warner into separate companies and allow them to work independently and not be owned by AT&T.
While the government is looking to argue the point that AT&T owning a fair amount of cable networks through this deal would be harmful to its competitors, AT&T is going to be arguing the recent mergers that are similar. Including the Comcast/NBC Universal merger that occurred in 2011. Obviously Time Warner does own fair bit more networks than NBC did or does, but it's still largely the same issue. The Justice Department does also note that this merger would cost consumers an extra $436 million per year, and the antitrust review here is based on the impact on the consumer.
President Trump is adamantly against this merger taking place. Though it's not entirely clear why he is against this merger. Though he has had some issues with CNN and other news outlets, posting "fake news" about him and his administration. But this merger could cause harm to the consumer, and competition - which would also harm the consumer. The outcome of this trial could impact not only Hollywood but media giants like Disney and 21st Century Fox, which also entered into a deal in the past few weeks. If this merger is blocked, then the Disney and 21st Century Fox deal could also be blocked or at least subject to a longer antitrust review.