Former Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) CEO Denny Strigl said on Wednesday the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to stop AT&T’s (NYSE:T) proposed $85 billion mega merger of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) were a mistake.
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“It shouldn’t have been done, they shouldn’t attempt to block this,” Strigl told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.”
According to Strigl, the lawsuit is inconsistent with past DOJ decisions.
“Comcast, NBC Universal just in 2011, that deal was approved, by the way, with a behavioral agreement that said that Comcast would act in certain ways. But in this case the Department of Justice would like a structural agreement—it makes no sense to me.”
Strigl says the potential AT&T-Time Warner deal would create a vertically integrated company which the DOJ rarely opposes.
“If you look at vertical integrations, which this is one of, this is not two companies that compete that are coming together here,” he said. “There has not been to my way of thinking, I don’t know in the last 40 years that the Department of Justice has ever blocked a vertical merger, why this one?”
However, Bartiromo questioned how vertical the deal really is, with an expanding range of companies competing for the same consumers.
“Well, they’re trying to get at the same consumer for video streaming, this is the future of telecommunications. If you look at what Verizon does, what AT&T does, they’re all trying to do that,” Strigl said.
With AT&T and Verizon competing for those customers with the likes of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Strigl questioned the DOJ’s motives in going after AT&T in a lawsuit he called “silly.”
Verizon, Amazon, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) are all now reportedly eyeing assets of FOX Business’ parent-company, 21st Century Fox
“This is the future for wireless communications, AT&T, Sprint. T-Mobile, Verizon, they’re all trying to put video, media content over their wireless devices, so that’s where the future is. Now, Verizon has purchased AOL as we know, has purchased Yahoo and they’re trying to put the pieces together to be able to provide streaming video and you’re right, we’re all fighting for the same customers,” the former Verizon CEO said.