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US Lawmakers Want DOJ To Probe Warner Bros Discovery Merger

 |  April 9, 2023

Four Democratic lawmakers have requested an investigation by the Justice Department into Warner Bros Discovery. They allege that the merged company has negatively impacted workers and limited options for consumers.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-CA), Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter. The letter stated that the merger appears to have enabled the company to adopt potentially anticompetitve practices. These practices could reduce consumer choice and harm workers in affected labor markets.

Related: Warner Bros & Discovery May Already Be In Merger Talks

“The company has the incentive and ability to eliminate broad swaths of its workforce, leaving workers with fewer choices for employment and advancement,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter (read it here). They cited the layoffs over the past year, including the shutdown of CNN+, as well as later cuts at CNN and in areas like ad sales.

Last year, the Justice Department successfully challenged the proposed Penguin Random House merger with Simon & Schuster on the grounds that it would ultimately harm authors. After a federal judge ruled in the government’s favor, the companies abandoned that transaction.

Arguing that the merger has led to the “hollowing out” of an “iconic American studio,” the lawmakers also cited the cancellation of projects and the removal of content from the HBO Max platform. They wrote that “audiences will never see such projects like Batgirl, a $90 million film that was canceled while ‘deep into post-production,’ despite consumer outcry, reportedly to allow WBD to claim a tax break.”