U.S. judge rules AT&T can acquire Time Warner for $85 billion

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

AT&T Cleared by Judge to Buy Time Warner, Create Media Giant

He said AT&T plans to close the deal on or before June 20. But looking beyond today, the merger could have a strong effect on future deals.

The case - one of the most closely watched antitrust trials in decades - is viewed as a bellwether for other deals waiting in the wings.

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. "We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner".

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. AT&T will now have a major foothold in the media industry.

In a scathing opinion bit.ly/2Jxx6qE, he urged the US government not to seek a stay of his ruling, saying it would be "manifestly unjust" to do so and not likely to succeed.

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Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Department of Justice lawsuit to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner and the Comcast-Disney battle for 21st Century Fox' entertainment assets.

A combination photo shows the Time Warner shares price at the New York Stock Exchange and AT&T logo in New York, NY, U.S., on November 15, 2017 and on October 23, 2016 respectively. In February, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for documents and emails between the Justice Department and the White House about the decision to sue AT&T and Time Warner. With AT&T's victory over the DOJ, it seems likely that Comcast will put together its bid for Fox quickly. "I think you'll see a lot of people using it as an opportunity to push mergers they may have been thinking about", said Ed Black, president of the Computers and Communications Industry Association, a trade group in Washington that represents companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google.

The DOJ has argued that this type of consolidation would give the merged AT&T-Time Warner the ability to raise prices, thwarting the competition's ability to compete by forcing them to raise prices to maintain carriage rights.

Some critics of President Trump have questioned whether the case was brought as political payback against Time Warner's CNN for unfavorable coverage of President Trump, who often called the cable news channel "fake news". Remember, Time Warner owns CNN, which is the object of some of Trump's most focused hatred. CNBC is reporting that Comcast will try to buy Twenty-First Century Fox if AT&T buys Time Warner.

The acquisition means AT&T will be the nation's top pay-TV distributor. 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. "I urge the Justice Department to take swift action to appeal this judgment to ensure that competition and consumers are protected".

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