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When does a proposed merger become a monopoly concern?

Although it is difficult to pinpoint when a proposed business merger prompts legitimate anti-competitive concerns, some government officials are noting that a prospective AT&T/Time Warner linkage is unquestionably sounding monopolistic alarm bells.

A contemplated coming together of those two companies has been a front-and-center news item for some time now, for obvious reasons.

One such reason: the sheer size of the projected deal.

Consider this, as the business publication Bloomberg spotlights in a recent report on the proposed combination: AT&T is the largest domestic satellite TV provider and a huge wireless carrier (please see our November 8 blog post), and Time Warner owns a large stable of venerable communication companies and networks through its ownership of the Turner Broadcasting System. Those include Warner Bros., HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS.

The stated price tag put on the merger is a stunning $85.4 billion.

Many commentators flatly stress a virtual certainty that the deal as it is presently structured will never secure approval. Indeed, they say, the U.S. Department of Justice will sue in federal court to block it, and quickly.

The stated concern of regulators, DOJ principals and the Trump administration is that the contemplated transaction is so big that its consummation would materially threaten healthy business competition and the very existence of some competitors.

Reports are now emerging that, because the DOJ doesn't want to flatly nix the deal, it is advising AT&T to simply revise the details a bit. That ostensibly means not buying Time Warner outright in its entirety but, rather, agreeing to an arrangement such as the sale of Turner and a subsequent joint venture with it.

Where things are headed is presently uncertain. Reportedly, the DOJ could file suit even before Thanksgiving to block the merger.

Mergers are, of course, one discrete transaction in a business world that -- especially in New York City -- encompasses business deals of nearly every variety and dimension. As a commercial law firm with a deep stable of accomplished lawyers well-versed in diverse client representation encompassing a broad range of subject matter, Rich Michaelson Magaliff Moser, LLP, welcomes contacts from business principals in search of proven legal advocacy.

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