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AT&T Defends Time Warner Deal's Cost Savings From U.S. Assault

David McLaughlin, Erik Larson
An employee helps a customer at an AT&T Inc. store in Manhattan Beach, California, U.S., on Monday, July 22, 2013. AT&T Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on July 23. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/

AT&T Inc. attacked the U.S. government expert who disputes the company’s claim that its takeover of Time Warner Inc. would lead to $2.5 billion in cost savings.

Rob Walters, a lawyer for AT&T, tried Monday to undermine the Justice Department’s expert, Ronald Quintero , saying he ignored AT&T’s history of successfully integrating companies and achieving projected savings. Walters also said that in a separate case in which he testified as an expert, Quintero’s testimony was "utterly discredited" by a judge.

"I’ve never heard that until just now," Quintero responded.

The dispute about the synergies in the Time Warner deal takes place as AT&T seeks to defeat the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against the deal. The issue is important because any cost savings that come from the deal would mitigate the price increases that the government claims will result from the merger.

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Quintero looked at just less than $2 billion of synergies claimed by AT&T and testified last week that the company shouldn’t get credit for them.

In his cross examination of Quintero, Walters said the standard used to evaluate AT&T’s estimate of the synergies ensured they would be rejected. Quintero also didn’t contact AT&T for an explanation of its projections, he said.

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