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AT&T drops bias charge in Time Warner deal

California residents may have heard about AT&T's intention to buy Time Warner. The deal is currently being held up by a Department of Justice lawsuit. While AT&T originally planned to claim that political bias motivated the DOJ's decision, the communications company announced on March 9 that it no longer plans to use that defense in court. Specifically, AT&T had alleged that the government was preventing the sale because Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.

Instead, the company is planning to focus on proving that the purchase will not raise prices or harm consumers. In October 2016, the head of the DOJ's antitrust division said that there were likely no issues from an antitrust perspective in this case. The decision to file a lawsuit occurred after he took the job in 2017.

AT&T also pointed to President Trump's acrimonious history with CNN as another reason why the case was receiving extra scrutiny. However, the DOJ said that there was always the possibility that it would ask for changes to be made. The department also said that there was always a chance that the purchase could be subject to rejection based on antitrust issues.

Business acquisitions are often complex events that involve a variety of legal issues. An attorney could review the terms of a deal to see if they violate antitrust laws or run afoul of other government regulations. If they do, it may be possible for an attorney to help make changes to the language or structure of the deal. How a deal is changed could depend on what types of problems a regulator may have with it.

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