Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner deal


A U.S. court ruled that AT&T can continue with its acquisition of Time Warner. District Judge Richard Leon announced its decision on Tuesday in the framework of one of the largest antitrust cases in years.
Leon ruled that the Justice Department could not prove that the deal harms pay TV competition. The Judge approved the USD 85.4 billion deal without any conditions.
“We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government’s lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner”, said in a statement David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel. “We thank the Court for its thorough and timely examination of the evidence, and we compliment our colleagues at the Department of Justice on their dedicated representation of the government. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.”
After the ruling, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement that the Justice Department was disappointed with the Court’s decision. “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. We will closely review the Court’s opinion and consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers.”
AT&T announced the purchase of Time Warner in October 2016. The Department of Justice filed its lawsuit to block the merger in November of last year. The antitrust trial lasted six weeks.
Once the deal is closed, AT&T will have the control of each of Time Warner’s three divisions: the studios, the HBO premium channels (and streaming services HBO Now, HBO Go) and Turner, the owner of pay TV networks CNN, Cartoon Network and TNT, among others. This way, the telecommunications company will combine Time Warner’s vast library of content with its pay TV, mobile and broadband subscriber base.