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December 6, 2018updated 05 Dec 2018 3:50pm

DOJ argues against AT&T-Time Warner merger / Kroger reports Q3 earnings / MPs report on quantum technologies

By Luke Christou

Good morning, here’s your Thursday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Department of Justice argues against AT&T-Time Warner merger

The United States Department of Justice will today voice its arguments against the proposed merger between telecommunications company AT&T and media company Time Warner.

AT&T closed the merger in June after overcoming an appeal from the DOJ. The company agreed to pay $85bn to acquire Time Warner.

However, the merger faces a fresh challenge at the US Court of Appeals, with the DOJ continuing to argue that the merger would violate antitrust laws should it go ahead. The government suggested that the deal would lead to higher prices, programming issues and a lack of choice for consumers.

Should the appeals court rule in the DOJ’s favour, the case could be returned to Judge Richard Leon, who ruled in the previous case. The merger would potentially be subject to a full antitrust analysis. Should it be found that the merger is harmful to consumers, AT&T could be forced to unwind the deal.

The hearing will take place at the United States Court of Appeals, Washington DC, starting at 2:30pm London time.

Kroger reports Q3 earnings

Kroger, the United States’ third largest retailer, will report its earnings for the third quarter of 2018 today, which should provide some indication of how its restructuring plans are progressing.

CEO Rodney McMullen announced that these plans after the company posted disappointing results in Q2, which did little to push its stagnant stock price.

Kroger stock has been trading around the $30 mark since 2014, leaving it far behind its two biggest retail rivals, Walmart ($96) and Amazon ($1,670). Kroger posted sales growth of just 1.6% in Q2, compared to 4.5% for Walmart.

However, the company has been working hard to increase its presence in the digital space, having recently partnered with autonomous vehicle startup Nuro and the UK’s online-based Ocado supermarket.

The company will release its earnings report via the Kroger investor relations website at 4pm London time.

MPs report on quantum technologies

The Science and Technology Committee will today release its report on quantum technologies, as part of its inquiry into the technology’s potential and present opportunities for economic growth.

Quantum technologies were selected as one of the 14 ‘core industrial challenges’ to be tackled by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, a fund to strengthen the UK’s position in science and business innovation announced in 2017.

The report will suggest that quantum technologies offer a huge opportunity for significant growth and often improvements to a number of industries and sectors. Likewise, it will also delve into the military applications of the technology, and what this might mean for the security of the UK.


Yesterday’s highlights

Businesses have more to worry about than GDPR as consumers become more data-conscious

Christmas cancelled: 60% of UK businesses won’t be paying for office Christmas parties this year