Friday, 19 October, 2018

Judge clears AT&T takeover of Time Warner

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| 13 June, 2018, 06:05

Daenerys Targaryen, Superman and Harry Potter are all headed to AT&T after all. 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.

For AT&T, the ruling marks a huge win in its bid to transform itself into a media powerhouse. Comcast has already made an offer for Sky, the United Kingdom satellite TV business.

AT&T applauded the court's decision. Said David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel. The companies then entered into discussions with the DOJ previous year and rumors surfaced that the agency had suggested some divestitures in order for AT&T to avoid an antitrust lawsuit.

Levine/NewscomAn ill-advised effort by the Department of Justice to stop AT&T from buying out Time Warner for more than $85 billion was rejected by a federal judge today. Other deals on the line include the proposed T-Mobile and Sprint merger, CVS' purchase of Aetna and Cigna's acquisition of Express Scripts.

The merger had also been heavily politicized due to President Donald Trump's feud with CNN, so we'll see if the Justice Department attempts to appeal.

Time Warner's sale could shape how much United States consumers pay for streaming TV and movies. He rejected the government's argument that it would hurt competition in pay TV and cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars more to stream TV and movies. Time Warner shares are up about 5% at $100.91.

It is about tectonic shifts in the media and technology industries. But those players also want to be both distributor and producer, and that's why they began to produce their own shows like Netflix's House of Cards and Amazon's Transparent.


Originally it was said that AT&T had planned to launch AT&T Watch no matter what happens with the current Time Warner DOJ court case. AT&T, the nation's second-largest wireless service provider by subscribers, is looking for a new area of growth. The merged companies could withhold programming from competitors, pressuring consumers to switch to AT&T services.

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

The nuances of this case are important, as the implications of this decision reach far beyond the individual businesses of AT&T and Time Warner to the vast media landscape as a whole. He said the company needed to take a giant leap into the content business. 'We're chasing their tail lights, ' Petrocelli said. It is, he said then, "a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in hands of too few".

The deal could still be imperiled if the Justice Department convinces a circuit court to issue a stay pending appeal.

Makan Delrahim, the Justice Department's top antitrust official, said the government was disappointed in the ruling and would "consider next steps". Sessions did not comply with the request. Customers will benefit from new bundles and offerings made possible by the merger, and the combined company will "develop new ad-supported video models that shift more costs to advertisers and off consumers", AT&T argued.

Shares of AT&T spiked immediately after the announcement and are now down about 2% in after-hours trading.

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