The judge hearing the Justice Department`s lawsuit to stop AT&T
Judge Richard Leon, living up to a pledge made during a hearing last week, ordered the Justice Department, which has the data, to ask the companies that gave it to the government for consent to pass it on to AT&T and Time Warner`s legal team.
The Justice Department sued in November to stop AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. wireless company, from buying Time Warner for $85 billion because of concerns that it could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers as well as hamper the development of online video. Trial is set for March 19.
Fights over data are common during antitrust trials since companies that are subpoenaed frequently fear that their rivals` executives will gain access to sensitive internal data that put them at a competitive disadvantage.
AT&T is expected to use the data to show that previous mergers did not lead to price increases for content as a way to bolster its argument that this deal also will not lead to higher prices when cable companies seek to buy content.
AT&T and Time Warner are seeking data from five programmers, including Walt Disney Co
They are also seeking it from distributors Comcast Corp
Leon had given access to confidential information to the court, Justice Department lawyers and staff, service providers and AT&T and Time Warner`s outside counsel.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)