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

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

The Judge also said the DOJ should appeal the ruling or ask for a stay that could force AT&T to pay Time Warner a fee.

"We are disappointed with the Court's decision today", Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement.

Rival cable company Comcast is now likely to go ahead with its planned attempt to woo Fox away from Walt Disney Co, which said it would acquire most assets of the media company for around $50 billion past year.

The government estimated costs to industry rivals, such as Charter Communications Inc, would increase by $580 million a year if AT&T owned Time Warner. The deal is valued at $108.7 billion, including debt.

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.

Waiting in the wings are potential big-billions deals involving 21st Century Fox and Disney, Verizon and CBS, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Even so, the case brought past year by the antitrust lawyers at Trump's Justice Department to block the AT&T and Time Warner marriage is an outlier.

"Brian Roberts and Team Comcast are cleared to bid", BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield told CNNMoney after the ruling.

AT&T, which has invested heavily in a streaming video service called DirecTV Now, is free to bulk up its original programming with Time Warner content. "The question is whether Disney is ready because unlike in 2004, Comcast is in it to win!" "The case stands as a testament to the wisdom of this combination of these two great companies and how it will benefit consumers for generations to come".

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AT&T in a six-week trial argued that the purchase of Time Warner would allow it to gain information about viewers needed to target digital advertising, much like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google already do.

The acquisition means AT&T will be the nation's top pay-TV distributor.

The two then had a long lunch in the Time Warner dining room in NY and agreed that their industries were under siege.

AT&T announced plans to acquire Time Warner on October 22, 2016.

After the decision was issued Tuesday, AT&T said it expected to close the Time Warner deal on or before Wednesday, June 20.

Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington, said the Justice Department had not proved that the telecom company's acquisition of Time Warner would lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for television and internet services.

As a candidate for president, Trump vowed to block the merger, stating it would concentrate too much power in one company. He rejected the government's argument that it 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.

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

Outside of court, however, critics of the lawsuit pointed to Trump's frequent criticism of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.


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