"This merger would greatly harm American consumers", Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the DOJ's antitrust division said in a statement.
Earlier this month, reports suggested that the DOJ was pushing AT&T to sell off either DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting, which houses CNN, in order to get the green light for the merger.More news: Bill Clinton says Trump should "stop seeking enemies"
AT&T responded in a statement, calling the lawsuit "a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent".
AT&T reaffirmed its plans to challenge the government's lawsuit, arguing that its plan is a "vertical" merger without competitive overlap. "Fortunately, the Department of Justice doesn't have the final say in this matter".
In the deal, AT&T seeks to vertically integrate its wireless and pay-TV capabilities with Time Warner's video content including Warner Bros. studios and cable channels such as HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS. The officials said they flatly rejected the offer.More news: Rampage: First Trailer Unleashes Monsters on Chicago
The move may be a pointer that the Trump administration will look closely at other big merger deals.
"Blocking this merger is the right thing to do - and we hope the Justice Department is doing it for the right reasons", said Craig Aaron, president of advocacy group Free Press, which opposes media industry consolidation.More news: Province Proposes Legislation to End College Strike
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