AT&T wins court approval to buy Time Warner for $85 billion

Courts To M&A Bankers “Everbody Gets Laid!”

And the AT&T-Time Warner deal is not necessarily yet in the clear.

"Allowing this merger to proceed raises serious concerns for consumers and the future of American media, and also sends a troubling signal to others that it's open season for vertical mergers that could allow a company to raise the cost of essential products and services that its rivals need to compete, leading to higher costs for consumers and less innovation", Klobuchar said.

A federal judge on Tuesday gave a ringing endorsement to AT&T Inc's planned acquisition of Time Warner Inc without any conditions, opening the door for companies such as Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc to pursue deals to buy creators of media content. Disney has a deal to buy the bulk of Fox, but Comcast is now expected to make a counterbid, especially with the favorable ruling for AT&T.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahm said the government was disappointed in Leon's ruling.

The $85.4bn merger will create a telecoms and media giant combining AT&T's mobile, cable and satellite TV business with Time Warner's portfolio of blue-chip media assets.

In a scathing opinion, he 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.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon rejected the government's argument that the AT&T-Time Warner combination would hurt competition in pay TV and cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars more to stream TV and movies.

AT&T's wooing of Time Warner has been politically complicated from the outset. After AT&T refused the Department of Justice sued to block the merger.

Courts To M&A Bankers “Everbody Gets Laid!”
BREAKING: AT&T, Time Warner Merger Cleared

Rival cable company Comcast is now likely to go ahead with its planned attempt to woo Fox away from Walt Disney Co, which said it would acquire most assets of the media company for around $50 billion previous year.

A Comcast-Fox deal would be another vertical merger, like the AT&T-Time Warner deal.

The trial is also a landmark for the entire industry, as companies like Disney, Fox and Comcast wait to see how the judge rules before moving ahead with their own mega deals.

Critics charged that Trump had come out against the deal because of Time Warner's CNN, which has been highly critical of his presidency.

Leon rejected the notion of temporarily suspending the merger for a possible appeal by the government.

Leon said the evidence and testimony provided by the government were faulty and that it never proved the merged entity would have increased leverage over its competitors. Time Warner owns HBO, Warner Bros., and Turner Broadcasting System.

AT&T said that controlling Time Warner's cable brands will help it craft new types of content to retain its customers as web-based rivals like Netflix Inc woo audiences away from traditional pay-TV subscriptions. AT&T is known to most consumers as a telecom company, offering cable, internet and phone services, but this is just the latest in a line of mergers from such companies trying to break into the media landscape.

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.



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