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AT&T-Time Warner decision could be sign for T-Mobile/Sprint deal

AT&T-Time Warner decision could be sign for T-Mobile/Sprint deal

However, now that the AT&T deal has been approved by a federal judge, there is precedent for such a deal and Comcast believes it won't be blocked.

When the trial ended, Judge Leon suggested the parties consider some remedies both could deal with depending on how he ruled. Last year The Department of Justice had called on AT&T and Time Warner to sell all or part of the Turner Broadcasting Group-the group of cable networks that includes CNN-or to sell off DIRECTV and keep the cable networks as a potential requirement for approving the pending deal.

AT&T has said it needs to buy Time Warner to compete with the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google in the shape-shifting streaming-TV environment. Short-term effects are likely to be favorable - things like a new skinny streaming service, or perks like free HBO for AT&T wireless customers - but as Time Warner continues to negotiate rates and packages with cable companies and new streaming services, the effects will become more clear. CNBC is reporting that Comcast will try to buy Twenty-First Century Fox if AT&T buys Time Warner.

Critics charged that Trump had come out against the deal because of Time Warner's CNN, which has been highly critical of his presidency. He said AT&T plans to close the deal on or before June 20.

The Justice Department, mostly under President Obama, has won nine of the last 10 lawsuits it has filed to stop mergers, records show.




Judge Richard Leon said the USA government failed to meet the burden of proof that the tie up between the largest United States pay TV operator and media entertainment giant Time Warner would harm competition. In February, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for documents and emails between the Justice Department and the White House about the decision to sue AT&T and Time Warner.

Time Warner gained as much as 5.8 percent in after-hours trading, while AT&T fell as much as 3.9 percent. That leverage would allow AT&T to raise prices for Time Warner content, with those costs being passed on to consumers, according to the Justice Department.

It also appointed a new chief executive officer earlier this month, Hans Vestberg, the company's chief technology officer, in a move that signaled Verizon would likely double down on its existing telecommunications business. The companies' CEOs, AT&T's Randall Stephenson and Jeffrey Bewkes of Time Warner Inc., testified in support of the deal.

Asked about the decision, he said, "Obviously we don't agree".

The mega-merger is a high-stakes bet by AT&T Inc. on the synergy between companies that produce news and entertainment and those that funnel it to consumers. First floated in October 2016, the deal also brought fire from then-candidate Donald Trump, who promised to kill it "because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few".


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