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It’s official: AT&T can merge with Time Warner

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After a six-weeks-long trial, Federal Judge Richard J. Leon issued his final ruling today that ATT can proceed with its merger with Time Warner, via The New York Times.

The merger will consolidate ATT’s telecommunications services with Time Warner’s content, which includes some of the biggest names in media like HBO, CNN, and sports broadcasts from the NBA and NCAA.

The ruling comes in direct opposition to the United States Department of Justice, which sued to block the deal. The anti-trust chief of the DOJ, Makan Delrahim, was trying to get the two companies to concede parts of their respective businesses to keep the industry landscape competitive.

However, Judge Leon gave the companies the “all clear” to merge without any concessions necessary on either side.

The ATT-Time Warner merger is in direct response to the success of Netflix.

Although ATT does not have to go through with the merger and Time Warner does not have to accept, with federal approval the $85.4 billion deal is now virtually complete.

ATT to face antitrust court battle over Time Warner deal

The ATT-Time Warner merger is a direct result of media companies like Netflix and Amazon creating and distributing content through alternative means to traditional cable. ATT pushed to merge with Time Warner to better compete with these newer companies and claim back some of the market.

In April, during the trial, Randall Stephenson – the CEO of ATT – said, “We want people engaged with their mobile devices all day watching movies and video.” With Time Warner’s assets at its disposal, ATT might be able to make that dream a reality.

Many consumer advocates, politicians, and even the President of the United States have vocally opposed the deal. During Donald Trump’s campaign for President in 2016, he said he would block the deal as President “because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” But with a federal judge giving the approval, even the President may not be able to stop the merger.

With this merger, the amount of companies that own everything we watch, see, and hear is shrinking down even more. The infographic below represents the media landscape in 2011, which has shrunk even more since then and will shrink even further if this ATT-Time Warner deal does happen:

Frugal Dad

The approval of this merger also increases the chances that other mergers could survive regulatory approval. Mergers that have already been discussed are Comcast’s takeover of 21st Century Fox, T-Mobile’s offer to buy Sprint, and CVS’s bid for Aetna.

NEXT: US Justice Department said to be investigating Sprint-T-Mobile merger

 

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