United States v. AT&T/Time Warner: A Triumph of Economic Analysis

Forthcoming in the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement (2018)

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-34

11 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2018 Last revised: 20 Sep 2018

See all articles by Joshua D. Wright

Joshua D. Wright

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Jan Rybnicek

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Date Written: September 19, 2018

Abstract

The DOJ’s lawsuit to block the AT&T/Time Warner transaction marks the first time in 40 years that a court has heard a fully-litigated challenge to a vertical merger. Following a six-week trial, Judge Leon issued a comprehensive 172-page decision holding that the DOJ failed to show that the transaction would be anticompetitive. Although the decision does not break new legal ground, it does represent a welcome reminder of the primacy of economic analysis over hot documents, testimony of rivals, and politics. As populist cries for increased government intervention to combat perceived widespread industry consolidation continue to mount – calls that often are proudly indifferent to the economic impact of the transaction – Judge Leon’s decision is a victory for evidence-based antitrust law. As the government now appeals the decision, we believe the D.C. Circuit should affirm the holding in the case and more broadly Judge Leon’s economic evidence-based approach.

Keywords: vertical mergers, foreclosure, antitrust, DOJ, double marginalization

JEL Classification: K21, L41, L42

Suggested Citation

Wright, Joshua D. and Rybnicek, Jan, United States v. AT&T/Time Warner: A Triumph of Economic Analysis (September 19, 2018). Forthcoming in the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement (2018); George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3251817

Joshua D. Wright (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Jan Rybnicek

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

700 13th St NW
Floor 10
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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