A three-judge appeals court panel on Thursday questioned the U.S. Justice Department’s challenge to a lower court approval’s of AT&T Inc’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Much of the argument at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia delved into whether a lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, properly treated economic models of the merger’s impact on future prices for pay-TV customers.

The core of the Justice Department’s concern has been that AT&T, which owns DirecTV, would use ownership of Time Warner’s content, such as CNN and HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” to make pay-TV rivals pay more, thus forcing them to charge consumers more.

http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/DuqamYaZxow/u-s-appeals-c...

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