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Starz Against AT&T/Time Warner Merger

2 Aug, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lionsgate-owned Starz is opposed to AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, claiming the deal would be bad for competition and consumers.

Citing research on its behalf — reportedly by conservative economist/consultant Jeffrey Eisenach — Starz claims AT&T could undermine its pay-TV channel’s fledgling over-the-top video venture and legacy business by favoring HBO and HBO Now.

AT&T, which has the largest pay-TV marketshare at 25.8%, also operates online TV service DirecTV Now.

Lionsgate acquired Starz for $4 billion in large part due to its branded SVOD service and pay-TV channels. Starz operates eight channels, which include Starz. Starz Encore, Starz West, Starz Edge, Starz Cinema, Starz Comedy, Starz in Black and Starz Kids & Family, totaling about 24 million subscribers.

“We hope regulators carefully scrutinize the major consequences of the proposed deal and act as necessary to maintain the robust competition among premium networks that exists today," Starz said in a statement.

In an email statement to Reuters, AT&T said it expects the Dept. of Justice to rule based on the law and not “the work of HBO’s competitors.”

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