U.S. v. AT&T, Inc. et al.


Cravath led Time Warner’s defense in the government’s antitrust investigation and litigation, which culminated in a six-week trial during March and April 2018.

On June 12, 2018, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. can proceed with their $108.7 billion merger, defeating the United States Department of Justice’s attempt to block the union—the government’s first challenge to a vertical merger in decades. In addition to representing Time Warner on the deal, which has been pending since 2016, Cravath led Time Warner’s defense in the government’s antitrust investigation and litigation, which culminated in a six-week trial during March and April 2018.

In a 170-page opinion, Judge Richard J. Leon held that the DOJ failed to provide sufficient proof that AT&T’s planned acquisition of Time Warner would substantially lessen competition in violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act and raise prices for consumers. The acquisition, when completed, will combine Time Warner’s library of content, which includes offerings from HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner, with AT&T’s customer relationships, pay TV subscriber base and scale in TV, mobile and broadband distribution. Noting that “[t]he parties have waged an epic battle, under extremely restricted deadlines, to litigate and try this historic vertical merger case,” Judge Leon concluded his opinion by warning the DOJ against bringing an appeal for the purpose of trying to delay the deal, indicating that such a tactic would cause “manifest injustice.”

The Cravath antitrust and trial team included partners Christine A. Varney (Picture), Peter T. Barbur, Julie A. North, Kevin J. Orsini and Margaret Segall D’Amico, who were assisted by associates Kate F. Stamell, Jacqueline D. Harrington, Allison C. Davido, Kelsie A. Docherty, Gregg A. Fish, Peter H. Fountain, Xiaoxi Tu, Lelia A. Ledain, Jenny Lee, Karice D. Rhule, Salah M. Hawkins and A. Maya Khan and senior attorneys Gerald A. Ford and Lillian S. Grossbard. Amanda S. Coleman also worked on this matter.

Involved fees earner: Christine Varney – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Peter Barbur – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Julie North – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kevin Orsini – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Margaret Segall D’Amico – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kate Stamell – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Jacqueline Harrington – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Allison Davido – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Kelsie Docherty – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Gregg Fish – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Peter Fountain – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Xiaoxi Tu – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Lelia Ledain – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Jenny Lee – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Karice Rhule – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Salah Hawkins – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Maya Khan – Cravath Swaine & Moore; Amanda Coleman – Cravath Swaine & Moore;

Law Firms: Cravath Swaine & Moore;

Clients: Time Warner Inc.;

Author: Ambrogio Visconti