Judge approves AT&T's merger with Time Warner | AT&T
Judge approves AT&T's merger with Time Warner | AT&T
It’s official: AT&T can merge with Time Warner
13 June, 2018, 03:29
Shares of AT&T were about flat in after-hours trade following the decision, while Time Warner rose more than 5 percent. But looking beyond today, the merger could have a strong effect on future deals.
Trump, however, repeatedly had blasted the merger, due in no small part to his opposition to CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.
The phone and pay-TV giant will now be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, "Game of Thrones", coveted sports programming and other "must-see" shows.
Murdoch rebuffed Comcast's advances previous year amid regulatory concerns, but the AT&T/Time Warner deal was so similar to a prospective Comcast/Fox arrangement that conventional wisdom has held that those concerns would evaporate if the AT&T deal went through.
Judge Richard Leon said the United States government failed to meet the burden of proof that the tie up between the largest U.S. pay TV operator and media entertainment giant Time Warner would harm competition.
Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department's antitrust chief, said prosecutors were "disappointed" with the decision but did not reveal whether they would seek a stay or appeal the ruling.
It is worth remembering that the Justice Department is reviewing the T-Mobile/Sprint combination, and the Justice Department did not approve AT&T's purchase of Time Warner. Federal judge Richard Leon appoved the $85 billion merger in court Wednesday, almost two years after the planned deal was announced.
AT&T has argued that a merger consolidating control over both sides of content operations would enable it to collect valuable customer data, which it could then use to sell high-priced targeted advertising.
AT&T Inc won approval from a U.S. court on Tuesday to buy Time Warner Inc for $85 billion, without conditions, allowing AT&T to compete with internet companies that dominate digital advertising and providing new sources of revenue.
"We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner", McAtee said in a statement.
Bloomberg via Getty Images AT&T CEO and Chairman Randall Stephenson exits federal court in April.
The mega-merger is a high-stakes bet by AT&T Inc. on the synergy between companies that produce news and entertainment and those that funnel it to consumers.
"We are grateful to the court for seeing it the way we did", Gindseberg said.
The ruling is a stinging defeat for the Justice Department.
Since announcing the merger, AT&T's stock has fallen 12% while Time Warner's has risen 10%. Therefore, AT&T would likely increase the rates that other content distributors must pay to air Time Warner content - forcing its rivals to either raise prices on their subscribers (which would inspire some consumers to switch to DirectTV), or else accept lower profit margins (which would impair their ability to compete with AT&T in the long term).
The decision comes despite criticism from Trump, a frequent detractor of Time Warner's CNN and its coverage.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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