AT&T and Time Warner argued in court documents filed Friday that steep competition with new media companies would prevent prices from rising if the two media giants are allowed to merge.
“There is no fact-based evidence that this merger will harm competition,” the companies said in a trial brief. “Nothing will be withheld from competitors; consumer prices will not go up.”
The companies specifically said competition with Facebook, Google parent company Alphabet, Amazon and Netflix would prevent them from creating a monopoly, according to Reuters.
AT&T and Time Warner are arguing against the Justice Department (DOJ), who is suing to block the merger. The DOJ argues that it would significantly harm competition in the industry and drive up prices for consumers.
The Justice Department argued in its final brief before the trial begins on March 19 that the merger would allow AT&T to hinder the growth of online competitors.
“The acquisition would give AT&T a new tool to slow down the development and growth of disruptive online competitors in the future,” the department argued, according to Reuters.
“AT&T can profess it wants to lead the charge to the future, but its internal documents reveal a less attractive reality.”
The Justice Department pointed to economic modeling as evidence that consumers would also be forced to pay for Turner Broadcasting content if the merger is allowed to proceed.
The Trump administration filed a lawsuit in November to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would place “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
But AT&T and Time Warner have also raised questions about whether the Justice Department’s opposition to the merger stems from President Trump ‘s professed animosity toward CNN, which is owned by Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting unit.
The White House has denied Trump sought to influence the DOJ decision on the merger.