AT&T and Time Warner win legal battle, confirming the merger

AT&T and Time Warner win legal battle, confirming the merger

For this reason, the government was hoping that Leon would at least put conditions on the merger, like requiring the telecom to sell off some of Time Warner's most coveted properties. For more, RT America's Manila Chan is joined by former Florida Democratic Party Chair Mitch Ceasar and GOP Strategist Ken Del Vecchio.

For AT&T, the ruling marks a huge win in its bid to transform itself into a media powerhouse.

Twenty-First Century Fox jumped 7 percent in extended trade after the ruling on expectations that Comcast and Walt Disney Co could start a bidding war to acquire its media assets.

The trial lasted for six weeks, with the government suing to stop the deal over concerns about its impact on competitors and consumers.

DOJ antitrust official Makan Delrahim said the government is disappointed in the court's decision and will consider "next steps".

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. The judge backed AT&T's and Time Warner's view that the deal was justified by "tectonic changes" and a "veritable explosion" of innovation among vertically integrated competitors.

The decision on a so-called "vertical integration" - between two companies who do not make competing products - could have a profound impact on future mergers.

In the most high-profile antitrust case in decades, the ruling is likely to set a benchmark for whether other mega-deals, especially in the media and communications sectors, can proceed or will face heightened antitrust scrutiny. 'We're chasing their tail lights, ' Petrocelli said.

Announced in October 2016, it was seized on by then presidential candidate Donald Trump as the sort pf deal his administration would block.

"This decision will have an outsized effect because there are so few antitrust trials that challenge vertical mergers", said Michael Carrier, a Rutgers University law professor specializing in antitrust.

Leon was also unimpressed with the government's theory that AT&T would use its ownership of Time Warner to withhold content from streaming multichannel video programming distributor services like DISH's Sling TV, Hulu Live and Google's YouTube TV.

AT&T's politically charged takeover of Time Warner was approved by a U.S. judge on Tuesday in a blow to the Trump administration which had fought hard to have the deal scrapped.

For instance, AT&T could charge other content providers (including Verizon, which owns HuffPost's parent company, Oath) artificially high prices to air the cable channels it acquired through Time Warner.

AT&T's bond deal could come sooner rather than later, as the company will want to get ahead of a growing M&A bond pipeline that includes Comcast, Shoup said.

It's also worth noting that President Trump has been publicly opposed to the deal since he was on the campaign trail.

Shares of AT&T spiked immediately after the announcement and are now down about 2% in after-hours trading.

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