A US Federal Judge Has Approved The AT&T-Time Warner Merger

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

"The court has spoken", U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said.

"The impact from this decision will have wide reaching ramifications across the telecommunications, media, and tech industry for decades to come", said GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives.

AT&T Inc. won approval from a USA court on Tuesday to buy Time Warner Inc for US$85 billion, allowing AT&T to compete with internet companies that dominate digital advertising and providing new sources of revenue.

The Justice Department, which may still appeal the decision, sued the companies in November, arguing that the tie-up could be used to suppress competition and raise prices for consumers.

A federal judge has approved AT&T's merger with Time Warner.

The judge said that the Department of Justice did not sufficiently meet its burden of proving that the deal would allow AT&T to harm rival TV providers.

Leon said the government failed to prove that the merger would lead to higher prices and other ham to consumers. AT&T's chief executive officer, Randall Stephenson, said the hiring had been "a big mistake".

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 Justice Department had repeatedly suggested the judge consider forcing AT&T to divest some of Time Warner's cable channels.

"The decision will very much send a signal as to what to expect from the DOJ in the future", Napolitano told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria".

"We are disappointed that the court missed an opportunity to rein in the First Amendment-crushing mass media consolidation trend, which puts too much media power in the hands of too few", Manning said in a statement.

Disney's $52.4 bid for major pieces of 21st Century Fox is pending a vote by Fox shareholders. Remember, Time Warner owns CNN, which is the object of some of Trump's most focused hatred.

Leon said the evidence and testimony provided by the government were faulty and that it never proved the merged entity would have increased leverage over its competitors.

The companies' main economist, Dennis Carlton from the University of Chicago, refuted Shapiro's model as overly complicated and rejected his conclusions. 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. "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".

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. 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. He said AT&T plans to close the deal on or before June 20.

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