Enlarge / ATT will own a bunch of new media properties if it is allowed to buy Time Warner. (credit: Aurich Lawson)
A group of mostly Democratic senators led by Al Franken (D-Minn.) today urged the Department of Justice to block ATT’s proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc.

The senators’ letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions predicts that “the combined company’s unmatched control of popular content and the distribution of that content will lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans.”
The Democrats couched their language a bit and said that the DOJ should block the merger if it “determine[s] that the substantial harms to competition and consumers arising from the transaction outweigh the purported benefits.” But the senators made it clear that they believe the merger’s potential harms will outweigh the benefits for consumers even if the government imposes conditions on the transaction.
Time Warner is the owner of programmers such as HBO, CNN, and Turner Broadcasting System, while ATT is the country’s biggest pay-TV provider, with 21 million DirecTV subscribers and four million U-verse TV subscribers.

ATT is also one of the largest home and mobile broadband companies. (The Time Warner involved in this transaction is completely separate from the similarly named Time Warner Cable, which is owned by Charter.)
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