The Justice Department has a verdict finally in the antitrust lawsuit against AT&T. The satellite service company was accused of complotting with its main competitors back in 2014. They were all in cahoots for a long enough period of time to resist against a sports channel that activated on behalf of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Antitrust Lawsuit Found DirecTV The Head of Conspiracy
The antitrust lawsuit reached its settlement on Thursday in a Los Angeles federal court. The final agreement prohibits DirectTV whose father company is AT&T from ever disclosing competitive information with any other players in its telecommunications industry. Brent Snyder, the Acting Assistant Attorney General, declared that such practices are not in the interest of the consumers that these companies serve.
The Justice Department found DirecTV to be the head of a conspiracy against Los Angeles Dodgers sports channel. The direct broadcast satellite company gathered other Los Angeles distributors together and disclosed the information it negotiated with Time Warner Cable. This way, the company lost chances of having one distributor signing up in the first place. As a consequence, 70% of clients in Los Angeles were left without Dodgers sports channel.
The settlement is one small victory against the danger that AT&T might pose to its industry. The merger between the telecommunications company and DirecTV was criticized by many authorities for its unbeaten competitive leverage in the market. President Donald Trump referred to this transaction during his presidential campaign by naming it as an accurate example of business practice he is against. With DirecTV by its side, AT&T has the power to control how much rivals are charged for Time Warner channels.
Lawmakers Criticized the Merger Between AT&T and DirecTV
During the antitrust lawsuit, DirecTV defended its business decisions by referring to a past situation. The company stated that it once suffered consequences of its collaboration with basketball games of Los Angeles Lakers. It seems that the company had to pay more than the right price unjustly. Thus, DirecTV felt it was safer for the industry to refuse to pay the asked price to Time Warner Cable for the Dodgers channel.
On the other hand, the Justice Department made it clear that the settlement isn’t more than it states. At this moment, distributors are not forced to an agreement to adopt any video programming, not even the Dodgers Channel. Instead, the agreement wants an uncorrupted process of purchasing video programming.
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