Saturday, 20 October, 2018

AT&T, Time Warner Merger Approved by Judge

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Scott Davis | 13 June, 2018, 03:27

Shares of AT&T were about flat in after-hours trade following the decision, while Time Warner rose more than 5 percent.

"The government may very well argue that that will increase prices by diminishing choices for consumers", he said. They look at the message it sends to other telecommunications companies and its possible far reaching effects on Comcast's ability to buy FOX.

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. Its potential deal Fox would be similar to AT&T/Time Warner by combining a cable and internet businesses with TV channels, news, sports and other entertainment.

Judge Richard Leon said the U.S. government failed to meet the burden of proof that the tie up between the largest USA pay TV operator and media entertainment giant Time Warner would harm competition.

Months before Trump nominated him to the Justice Department's leading antitrust position in 2017, Delrahim even had expressed an openness to the combination of AT&T and Time Warner, predicting in an interview on Canadian television that it might not trigger any regulatory concerns.

A merged AT&T-Time Warner could, in principle, refuse to supply content to some distributors in order to drive consumers to purchase its own access and content bundles, but it would not be in the merged company's financial interest to do so.

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. This decision could put more pressure on companies like Amazon, Netflix and Google's YouTube, which have been competing with traditional media companies for eyeballs.




The decision from U.S. District Judge Richard Leon gives AT&T an entry into the media business with control over popular brands like cable networks CNN, HBO, TNT and TBS.

Corporate America had closely watched the case and the decision is likely to lead to more mergers.

On the other side, AT&T and Time Warner (big as they may be) face steep competition from the FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google), all of whom have made video a top priority.

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

A United States court today gave AT&T approval to go ahead and buy Time Warner without conditions.

Critics charged that Trump had come out against the deal because of Time Warner's CNN, which has been highly critical of his presidency. During Donald Trump's campaign for President in 2016, he said he would block the deal as President "because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few". AT&T lawyers initially sought email correspondence between Trump's White House and the Justice Department, but Leon declared that any communications were not relevant to the trial, and AT&T relented.

The judge rejected the government's argument that the merger would hurt competition in pay TV and cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars more to stream TV and movies.

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