Snow delays blockbuster ATT/Time Warner case: media

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Washington (AFP)

Snow forecast to hit Washington on Wednesday will delay the start of the nation's biggest antitrust case in decades, US media reported.

Opening arguments in the government's effort to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner were to begin on Wednesday but have been pushed back to Thursday, the reports said.

The Justice Department filed suit in November to block the planned $85 billion tie-up of AT&T, one of the dominant telecom and internet firms, with media-entertainment powerhouse Time Warner, whose units include HBO and Warner Bros. studios.

The deal had been under review since late 2016, and the case has also been clouded by politics, notably the feud between President Donald Trump and Time Warner unit CNN -- which the White House regularly attacks as "fake news."

In its trial brief, the Justice Department argues that the tieup would be bad for competition and raise prices.

AT&T, in turn, argues competition concerns are overblown because the two companies operate in different segments: one is a distributor, the other a creator of content.

The US National Weather Service forecasts up to eight inches (20 centimeters) of snow for Washington on Wednesday, making it the first major storm to hit the nation's capital this year -- the day after spring began.