Judge in AT&T Antitrust Case Asks If Restructured ‘no Blackout' Clause Would Satisfy pay-TV Companies

The federal judge weighing whether to block AT&T Inc. from buying Time Warner Inc. on antitrust grounds asked whether an arbitration offer made to cable and satellite TV companies could be restructured to resolve concerns about the merger.Time Warner has offered arbitration to pay-TV companies if there's an impasse in negotiations over programming distribution. AT&T and Time Warner say the proposal addresses the Justice Department's lawsuit challenging their deal because they can't threaten to pull content like CNN off the air.The plan hasn't won over executives from cable and satellite-TV companies who have testified in the trial. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Wednesday asked one of them, Tom Montemagno from Charter Communications Inc., why he thought the offer was risky for Charter."What if the arbitration was restructured?" said the judge, who also asked if there were changes that would make the process satisfactory to Charter.  Continue reading...

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