Federal judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger

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

AT&T-Time Warner Decision: Either Way, Media Is Ailing

The deal cost AT&T's top lobbyist, Bob Quinn, his job in May after it became public that AT&T had paid Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen $600,000 for advice on winning approval.

"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.

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.

The deal, almost two years in the making, netted a massive and potentially legacy-sealing win for AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson.

AT&T, in turn, said it needs Time Warner to have a fighting chance against tech giants like Google and Facebook.

The AT&T-Time Warner antitrust trial finally has a ruling after the trial ended last month.

The merger was approved without conditions and is seen as a turning point for a media industry that has been upended by companies like Netflix Inc and Google which produce content and sell it online directly to consumers, without requiring a pricey cable subscription.

Leon discouraged the government from asking him to put his own ruling on hold pending appeal, and said that if asked he would deny a stay.

The U.S. Department of Justice has lost its antitrust lawsuit to bar the planned AT&T and Time Warner merger, according to Business Insider.

Prior to the news on the decision in the case, AT&T stock closed up 0.5% (to $34.50 per share) and Time Warner closed up 0.05% in regular trading (to $96.22 per share) which concluded at 4 p.m. ET. It's unusual for the Justice Department to argue that a vertical merger of two companies that aren't direct competitors would limit competition, but the effect that the merger will have on the telecoms and entertainment industry is significant.

"We would lose a lot of subs", Schlichting said, during an hour and a half of testimonies at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The DOJ moved to block the merger in March, arguing that the merger would reduce competition and hurt consumer choice. Other acquisitions on the table include Disney's offer to buy 21st Century Fox, drug store CVS's bid for Aetna and T-Mobile's potential merger with Sprint. Remember, Time Warner owns CNN, which is the object of some of Trump's most focused hatred. Looming in the background of the deal has been Trump's long-running feud with Time Warner's CNN, which he has often derided as "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news". 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. 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. "We strongly urge the Justice Department to appeal this decision all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary".

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