AT&T Lawyer Spars With Star Government Witness on Merger's Consumer Impact

A lawyer for AT&T Inc. sparred with the government's star witness in the U.S. lawsuit to block the takeover of Time Warner Inc., questioning a key prediction that the deal would give it unfair leverage over pay-TV rivals seeking Time Warner's programming.Carl Shapiro, University of California at Berkeley professor, testified Wednesday in federal court in Washington that prices would ultimately go up for consumers if the nearly $109 billion merger goes through, with AT&T's DirecTV benefiting from pressure placed on rival distributors.On cross-examination, AT&T's attorney Daniel Petrocelli noted several executives, including Turner Broadcasting's CEO John Martin, had already testified as government witnesses that they wouldn't use such leverage. That seemed to undermine one of the Justice Department's key arguments for blocking the deal."They've testified they won't do any of the things you're saying," Petrocelli said.  Continue reading...

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