Federal judge approves AT&T merger with Time Warner

Marco Green
June 13, 2018

Comcast has already made an offer for Sky, the United Kingdom satellite TV business.

In a recent court filing, Redstone said her long-term plan was to create a combined company, which would unite media assets including CBS" broadcast networks, Showtime, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and then sell it. Halford, from OCC added, "All I know is that this will be a blockbuster summer for media mergers!'

"We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial of the merits, the court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner", AT&T's general counsel David McAtee said in a statement.

The government can appeal the ruling, but Leon reportedly said that he would reject any government motion for a stay that would further delay the deal. The Judge also said the DOJ should appeal the ruling or ask for a stay that could force AT&T to pay Time Warner a fee. The ruling blesses the $85 billion merger, one of the biggest media deals ever.

CNN is owned by Time Warner (TWX). The government had opposed the deal, claiming that it would limit competition and raise costs for consumers.

AT&T disputed the government's math, and tried to prove that President Trump meddled in the government's merger review.

It also appointed a new chief executive officer earlier this month, Hans Vestberg, the company's chief technology officer, in a move that signaled Verizon would likely double down on its existing telecommunications business.

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BREAKING: AT&T, Time Warner Merger Cleared

Investors are welcoming a federal judge's approval of AT&T's $85 billion takeover of Time Warner. All of this competition among network providers and content creators has been great for consumers, but it's hurting AT&T's bottom line.

Bloomberg via Getty Images AT&T CEO and Chairman Randall Stephenson exits federal court in April.

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. President Donald Trump, while still a candidate, said he would block the deal "because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".

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.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop the deal in November 2017, saying that AT&T's ownership of both DirecTV and Time Warner would give AT&T unfair leverage against rival cable providers that relied on Time Warner's content, such as CNN and HBO's "Game of Thrones". Sessions did not comply with the request.

The Justice Department had repeatedly suggested the judge consider forcing AT&T to divest some of Time Warner's cable channels.

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 - who spend more time watching video on phones and tablets and less time on traditional live TV on a big screen.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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