Court Approves AT&T’s Merger With Time Warner

Comcast readying new bid for 20th Century Fox film and TV assets

The merger, including debt, would be the fourth largest deal ever attempted in the global telecom, media and entertainment space, according to Thomson Reuters data.

If AT&T is successful in its bid to buy Time Warner, it will nearly certainly find itself competing in a media market dominated by other large, integrated providers.

In making that ruling, Leon reaffirmed the judiciary's traditional tolerance for "vertical integration" - the technical term for mergers between companies that operate related, but distinct, businesses.

In denying any attempt by the government to seek a stay of his ruling during appeal, Leon said AT&T and Time Warner "understandably fear the government will now seek to do indirectly what it couldn't accomplish directly".

To see how this could happen, consider that, after the merger, AT&T would have the rights to all of HBO's output, CNN, live National Basketball Association and NCAA broadcasts, and many more desirable Time Warner properties. Instead, they argued the media industry is going through a massive change as fewer people subscribe to paid TV service and instead stream content via the internet.

The judge in a scathing opinion urged the USA government not to seek a stay of his ruling, saying it would be "manifestly unjust" to do so and not likely to succeed.

"Judge OKs AT&T merger with Time Warner, rejecting government argument it would hurt pay-TV consumers, competition". "For AT&T and Time Warner, this is a major victory lap".

While this court case is decided, the U.S. Department of Justice could appeal the ruling.

"We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner", he said in the statement.

"The court has spoken", U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said.

Initially AT&T and Time Warner planned to use a "selective enforcement" defense, alleging that the administration was blocking the deal because of Trump's dislike of CNN.

If the deal is approved, it will trigger a bidding war between Comcast and Disney for Fox assets, Napolitano said. Stephenson said Watch would only be possible if the merger went through.

The DOJ has argued that this type of consolidation would give the merged AT&T-Time Warner the ability to raise prices, thwarting the competition's ability to compete by forcing them to raise prices to maintain carriage rights.

Time Warner owns CNN, HBO, Warner Bros. Comcast, for example, would like to outbid the Walt Disney Co. for some of 21st Century Fox's assets, but has held off until the trial ended. But AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson remained at the company's headquarters in Dallas, and he learned of the ruling when AT&T general counsel David McAtee called him, a spokesperson said.

AT&T has said it needs to buy Time Warner to compete with the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google in the shape-shifting streaming-TV environment. And Leon's decision is likely to trigger a wave of new mergers, as many executives were waiting to for the outcome of AT&T's bid before pushing forward with their desired deals.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have raised questions about the Justice Department's motivations and the White House's influence in deciding to take the case to court.

Related:

  • An Angry Ronaldo Refuses to Renew Contract With Real Madrid

    An Angry Ronaldo Refuses to Renew Contract With Real Madrid

    Recent talks between Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes and Real's top-brass haven't helped bring an agreement and the talisman's decision is "irreversible" unlike a year ago , Diario Record, a Portugal daily, has claimed.
    Dennis Rodman Weeps With Joy on Live TV Over Trump-Kim Summit

    Dennis Rodman Weeps With Joy on Live TV Over Trump-Kim Summit

    Rodman previously met Un at a basketball exhibition in Pyongyang, North Korea , in February 2013. And he accused former US President Barack Obama of "not giving me the time of day".

    Macedonia changes its name to end bitter 27-year dispute with Greece

    Ancient Macedonia was the cradle of Alexander the Great's empire, a point of pride to Greeks today. The deal still needs to be approved by the Macedonian and Greek parliaments.
  • Trump, Kim Agree On Denuclearization, But Deal Seen Symbolic (2 Videos)

    Trump, Kim Agree On Denuclearization, But Deal Seen Symbolic (2 Videos)

    A spokeswoman for USA military forces in Korea said they had not received any direction to cease joint military drills. As North Korea's closest ally and largest trading partner, China occupies a significant role in North Korean affairs.
    One photo says it all at 'G6+1' summit

    One photo says it all at 'G6+1' summit

    Nevertheless, Saturday's events only reinforced the chancellor's commitment to forging a stronger, more unified European Union. American National Security Advisor John Bolton, however, offered a different interpretation of the photograph.
    Microsoft building a game streaming service

    Microsoft building a game streaming service

    Playground Games , of course, are on course for Forza Horizon 4's release this year, and are now under Microsoft's watchful eye. The Xbox One X will also be able to run Forza Horizon 4 at 60 frames per second - a first for a Forza Horizon game on consoles.
  • Hollow Knight coming to Nintendo Switch today

    Hollow Knight coming to Nintendo Switch today

    For those who want to be first to download the new game, you'll need to log into the Switch store at the time mentioned above. The game's battle royale mode, which has taken the world by storm, will now be playable on the Nintendo hybrid console.
    Signing Marouane Fellaini would offer Arsenal something different - Ray Parlour

    Signing Marouane Fellaini would offer Arsenal something different - Ray Parlour

    Pires continued. "But I think he's a good player if he wants to join Arsenal , I think it would be good news ". Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was crucial to their deal for former Porto defender Diogo Dalot.
    Yes, Trump Talked About Human Rights With Kim Jong Un - Katie Pavlich

    Yes, Trump Talked About Human Rights With Kim Jong Un - Katie Pavlich

    Mintaro Oba, a former US State Department diplomat specialising in the Koreas, said the summit was more about style and symbolism. Told by doctors he would never recover, the parents agreed to remove him from life support and he died six days later , age 22.
  • Trump trade adviser: Harsh comments against Trudeau were a ‘mistake’

    Trump trade adviser: Harsh comments against Trudeau were a ‘mistake’

    Trump and Kim shook hands and posed for photos before their almost 40-minute one-on-one conversation behind closed doors. But he's taking the high road when it comes to the US president's ongoing trash talk against Canada.
    Tottenham striker Kane knows he needs to break World Cup scoring hoodoo

    Tottenham striker Kane knows he needs to break World Cup scoring hoodoo

    I was very passionate, my older brother Charlie was very passionate - we were big England fans. England's campaign gets underway at the Volgograd Arena in, you guessed it, Volgograd.
    North Korea gets first big dose of Trump summit news

    North Korea gets first big dose of Trump summit news

    The two leaders are expected to meet with translators for 45 minutes, followed by an expanded bilateral meeting with senior staff. Trump appeared to be speaking to Kim throughout the 12 seconds of the handshake but Kim did not reply .

Comments

Other news