AT&T can buy Time Warner as judge shuts down Department of Justice

13 June, 2018, 23:07 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • You were warned about this yesterday when the AT&T  Time Warner ruling was issued sure enough Comcast is going to put in a bid to acquire Fox

Comcast reportedly is looking to make an offer to purchase 21st Century Fox the day after AT&T's merger comes into play. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) said the decision "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". Online companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix have emerged as alternatives to the cable industry both distributing and creating their own content. Judge Richard Leon said the United States 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.

In the decision (PDF) closing the case, Judge Leon said that the government's arguments against the deal fell flat. For the moment, DOJ has not indicated its next steps. 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.

Aside from proving Stephenson is a fan of the Oxford comma, the government argued that this quote showed AT&T did intend to use Time Warner's content as a weapon. AT&T's stock was down about 2 percent.

Before the trial started, AT&T lawyers said the Time Warner deal may have been singled out for government enforcement but the judge rejected their bid to force the disclosure of White House communications that might have shed light on the matter. However, AT&T has argued that making such a deal would be necessary to compete against other tech companies.

"The consumer just doesn't benefit in any way shape or form". "Already, with their cable systems, they control what people see and hear". Trump had pledged to block the deal when he was campaigning for president.

The US Department of Justice-the nation's antitrust authority-sued to block the deal late past year, arguing that Time Warner's media brands like HBO, Warner Bros., and CNN would give AT&T outsized power, hurt competition, and lead to higher prices for consumers. Remember, Time Warner owns CNN, which is the object of some of Trump's most focused hatred.

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President Donald Trump also once weighed in on the deal, commenting that an AT&T victory would put too much power "in the hands of too few" ― but many speculated that his aversion to the merger had more to do with his issues with CNN than anything else (Turner Broadcasting is CNN's parent company).

The ruling suggests Judge Leon is adapting to the times.

"We're disappointed that it took 18 months to get here, but we are relieved that it's finally behind us", he told reporters after the decision.

"It was a case that should never have been brought", Petrocelli said.

"The government's proof at trial falls far short of establishing the validity of its increased-leverage theory". Another federal antitrust agency steered clear of a formal probe of Amazon.com, for example, when the e-commerce giant sought to buy national grocery chain Whole Foods in 2017.

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