The leading executive of Turner Broadcasting and the head of Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV are slated to testify Monday as U.S. antitrust enforcers resume their court fight versus AT&T Inc.’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Inc.The Justice Department is preparing to call Sling TV Group President Warren Schlichting, and John Martin, the chief executive officer of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting.
The set will be the most high-profile witnesses yet in the trial over the $85 billion offer. They follow testimony from a Cox Communications Inc. executive Thursday who said she fears that if AT&T gets Time Warner it will acquire take advantage of over Cox in programming negotiations.The government is attempting to make its case that the offer will give AT&T the power to raise prices on rival pay-TV suppliers, which will in turn pass them on to customers at a cost of more than$400 million a year.Buying Time Warner, according to the Justice Department, will also give AT&T the tools to
undermine emerging competitors from online video providers like Sling TV, Dish’s&online TELEVISION service. Anticipate Schlichting to support that part of the federal government’s case.AT & T dismisses the Justice Department’s argument that it’s attempting to strangle new competitors. Instead, it says, the offer would
benefit customers by permitting the resulting business to adjust and take on Netflix Inc. and Amazon Inc. with brand-new products.The federal government hasn’t disclosed a schedule for the remaining witnesses it plans to call. University of California Berkeley financial expert Carl Shapiro is expected to be a
essential witness for the Justice Department’s case because he’ll discuss how he created the price quote for greater consumer costs arising from the offer.