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AT&T Says Dish Chairman’s Views Undercut Deal Opposition

  • Ergen claimed losing CNN was ‘non-event’ during negotiations
  • U.S. judge weighs fate of $85 billion Time Warner deal
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Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

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AT&T Inc.’s lawyer pointed to past comments by Dish Network Corp.’s chairman on his willingness to ditch overpriced programming when contract talks fail as evidence that AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner Inc. won’t have the destructive impact the U.S. claims in its antitrust suit.

The lawyer raised the 2014 comments by Charlie Ergen to rebut testimony from Warren Schlichting, president of Dish’s online TV service, Sling TV. Schlichting testified this week for the government that the merger would make it more likely that Time Warner content goes “dark” on Dish and Sling, costing them subscribers as a result because the programming is so valuable. For example, he said he “couldn’t imagine” an election year without CNN.