On September 27, 2018, Business Roundtable and five other business associations filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in USA v. AT&T, Inc., et al.
The brief opposes the Justice Department’s appeal of a federal district judge’s rejection of an antitrust challenge to the vertical merger of AT&T and Time Warner.
At issue is whether the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia committed clear error by rejecting the government’s request for a permanent injunction halting the merger on the basis that it was anticompetitive.
Business Roundtable argued that vertical mergers generally benefit consumers and should typically be lawful under a bright-line test. In addition, the brief contended that the government’s vague standard for assessing vertical mergers on a case-by-case basis would harm businesses and consumers.
Other groups included in the brief were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., and the Latino Coalition.
UPDATE: On February 26, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling that upheld the AT&T acquisition. (See opinion here.)