DirecTV Wants Out of Government's Fight With AT&T, Time Warner
"The government offered no testimony or other evidence even hinting, much less demonstrating, that as a result of the merger DIRECTV’s incentives or behavior will change for the worse, or that it will be capable of harming competition."
The biggest antitrust trial in decades began nearly a month ago and, in that time, DirecTV says the Department of Justice has failed to show it belongs in the fight over AT&T's proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
DirecTV, which was acquired by AT&T for $49 billion in 2015, on Tuesday filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to either dismiss it from the matter or enter a judgment in its favor.
"The government has failed to state a claim for relief against DIRECTV, which is not a party to the challenged merger, much less an acquirer of any stock or assets (as the Clayton Act requires)," writes attorney Daniel Petrocelli. "Nor has the government introduced any evidence that could justify finding that DIRECTV bears any liability in this case or that its presence is necessary for full and effective relief."
Petrocelli argues that even if the government follows through on a newly mentioned plan to seek divestiture of DirecTV, the satellite company still wouldn't need to be involved in the matter because the court could directly order AT&T to divest DirecTV.
"The government has rested and its evidence provides no basis for ordering any relief against DIRECTV," writes Petrocelli. "The government offered no testimony or other evidence even hinting, much less demonstrating, that as a result of the merger DIRECTV’s incentives or behavior will change for the worse, or that it will be capable of harming competition. Indeed, the government’s chief economic expert has predicted that DIRECTV will charge its subscribers less as a result of the merger."
The only reason the government named DirecTV as a defendant, Petrocelli argues, is so it could seek admission of hearsay statements made by the company prior to its 2015 acquisition by AT&T.
Read the full filing below.