AT&T-Time Warner Decision: Either Way, Media Is Ailing
13 June, 2018, 06:07 | Author: Kristi Dunn
The decision will have wide implications for future deals because there has been so little judicial guidance on antitrust issues in deals like the Time Warner takeover, which unites two companies that operate in different parts of a supply chain rather than direct competitors. The case was held in US District Court for the District of Columbia. "It does seem to be a complete and total victory for AT&T". 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. "For recognizing this case was meritless political and should never have been brought in the first place". The Justice Department offered Professor Carl Shapiro of the University of California at Berkeley, whose report formed the backbone of the Justice Department's suit.
On the campaign trail in October 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa. He cited the size of the combined companies.
It is about tectonic shifts in the media and technology industries.
The judge didn't buy that. But he signed off on the deal with no conditions and knocked down the government's contentions point by point.
"Common sense tells you that this degree of concentrated power isn't right", wrote Zephyr Teachout, a candidate for attorney general of NY, wrote immediately following the judge's ruling.
Time Warner controls assets such as HBO, CNN and, most importantly, Warner Bros.
The judge's ruling will likely be seen by tech and telecom giants as a green light to pursue a slew of major media acquisitions. Comcast, which had earlier bid for the Fox assets but lost out to Disney, is expected to renew its pursuit now that AT&T has won.
Leon announced his decision after the stock market closed on Tuesday, and Comcast shares slumped 4 percent in after-market trading on fears that it would overpay for Fox. Disney's $52 billion offer is in stock, but Comcast will now officially offer Fox $60 billion in cash. The ruling could open the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing entertainment and video-content worlds. That was "a deal we will not approve in my administration". Seats for the ruling at the E Barrett Prettyman courthouse in downtown Washington were in such demand that lines began forming outside the courthouse a full day before the scheduled 4pm announcement.
AT&T General Counsel David McAtee now expects its purchase of Time Warner to close by June 20.
Once president, Trump regularly called CNN "fake news" and posted on Twitter in July 2017 a doctored video of him beating up a supposed CNN journalist.
The U.S. Justice Department is taking AT&T to court.
Time Warner (TWX) shares were up almost 5 percent in after-hours trading that followed news of the decision. AT&T and Time Warner refused.
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. AT&T and Time Warner say that by coming together they can create synergies of data and information that will help them make better content and sell more targeted ads, which they claim could ultimately help lower prices for consumers.
"We're disappointed that it took 18 moths to get here but we're relieved that it's finally behind us", AT&T lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli told reporters outside the courthouse.
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