The federal government on Tuesday lost its second court challenge to AT&T’s $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner, a blockbuster deal that has already begun to reshape much of the media industry.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the government’s claim that a lower court had applied antitrust laws incorrectly in allowing the merger to proceed. Justice Department lawyers have argued that the combination of the two companies would reduce competition and hurt consumers.
The appeals court ruling came after AT&T beat back the government’s challenge last June when Judge Richard J. Leon sided with the wireless giant.
“If there ever were an antitrust case where the parties had a dramatically different assessment of the current state of the relevant market and a fundamentally different vision of its future development, this is the one,” Judge Leon wrote in his opinion.