Credo Action

Tell the Department of Justice: Stop the AT&T-Time Warner merger

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Petition to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division:

"Stop the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, which would hurt consumers, decrease competition and drastically increase market concentration."

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    Tell the Department of Justice: Stop the AT&T-Time Warner merger

    AT&T, the second-largest wireless and third-largest broadband company in America, just announced plans to buy Time Warner, the owner of HBO, Warner Bros. and CNN. This $85 billion merger would hurt consumers, stifle competition and poison our democracy. It must be stopped.1

    Wall Street banks hunting profits and corporate CEOs chasing stock bonuses made 2015 a record year for corporate consolidation.2 It won’t slow down until Washington gets serious about blocking new mega-corporations and breaking up monopolies. The AT&T-Time Warner merger just became ground zero in the struggle to make our economy work for everyday Americans, and we need to take the lead to stop it.

    Tell the Justice Department: Stop the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

    AT&T’s army of nearly 100 lobbyists is already gearing up for a major fight for approval, and Wall Street will go all out to guarantee its huge fees from this deal.3 But progressive champions like Sen. Al Franken are questioning the deal, and Sen. Bernie Sanders has already called on the administration to block it, saying “the administration should kill the Time Warner/AT&T merger. This deal would mean higher prices and fewer choices for the American people.”4

    The AT&T-Time Warner merger would be a disaster. In past mergers, such as the one that consolidated Comcast and NBCUniversal, companies failed to deliver on promises to consumers and wiggled out of regulators’ meager and unenforceable conditions.5 This deal would reward Wall Street banks with huge fees – JPMorgan Chase is reportedly writing a record $25 billion check to help finance the takeover – while offering consumers less choice and higher prices.6,7

    The merger would give one of the biggest owners of “pipes” that deliver content to consumers (AT&T) control over the maker of that content (Time Warner). AT&T would have a massive incentive to throttle content from competitors or even influence reporting on the parent company and corporate control of our democracy.8 On top of it all, as corporations get bigger the economy becomes less dynamic, less innovative and slower-growing.9

    Ever since Reagan, our government has nearly quit breaking up monopolies and rarely slows their growth. Antitrust officials too often ignore evidence of higher prices, lower wages, job losses and environmental damage. The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission rarely block mergers as long as companies claim they will be more efficient. Regulators merely insist on conditions – promises that are often broken or changes that don’t work.10 It will take a sustained outcry to tip the scales against this merger.

    Tell the Justice Department: Stop the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

    America only has four big airlines. Just two companies sell 70 percent of the countless types of toothpaste. There are only three big health insurance companies, four big cable and internet conglomerates, five big book publishers, and new firms like Google and Amazon are using their market power to squeeze out competitors.11 Concentrated markets like these depress wages and raise prices, leaving us all worse off.12

    Allowing yet another mega-merger could leave other companies seeking to combine in order to compete. This deal could easily lead to Disney trying to buy Netflix or Comcast purchasing Verizon. Washington’s failure to block mergers or bust up monopolies has created a nightmare situation for our economy – and we need to do all we can to stop it.

    Tell the Justice Department: Stop the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Michael Hiltzik, “The AT&T-Time Warner deal would be a disaster for the public interest,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 24, 2016.
    2. David Dayen, “Why Are Drug Monopolies Running Amok? Meet Deborah Feinstein,” The Intercept, Dec. 16, 2015.
    3. Cecilia Kang and Eric Lipton, “AT&T Cheerleading Squad for Merger: Nearly 100 Lobbyists,” New York Times, Oct. 26, 2016.
    4. Ben White and Andrew Hanna, “AT&T-Time Warner deal doomed?” Politico, Oct. 24, 2016.
    5. Hiltzik, “The AT&T-Time Warner deal would be a disaster for the public interest.”
    6. White and Hanna, “AT&T-Time Warner deal doomed?
    7. Hiltzik, “The AT&T-Time Warner deal would be a disaster for the public interest.”
    8. Ibid.
    9. Ben Casselman, “AT&T’s Merger Could Be A Bad Sign For The Economy,” FiveThirtyEight, Oct. 25, 2016.
    10. Dayen, “Why Are Drug Monopolies Running Amok? Meet Deborah Feinstein.”
    11. David Dayen, “Bring Back Antitrust,” The American Prospect, Nov. 9, 2015.
    12. David Dayen, “Where is Amy Klobuchar?,” Naked Capitalism, May 9, 2016.