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

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With that added revenue, it could eventually lower the cost of its subscription services, the company argues. At a campaign rally in 2016, Trump said his administration would not approve the deal, raising concerns over political interference. 21st Century Fox already agreed in December to sell those assets to Disney, which include all of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, a stake in Hulu, their stake in global broadcaster Sky and many regional sports channels, among other assets. But the Department of Justice sued to block the $108 billion merger in November 2017, saying the deal is likely to raise consumers' TV bills. T-Mobile also has a deal to buy Sprint.

On Tuesday, June 12, Judge Richard Leon of the United States District Court in Washington D.C. He also warned that the government might try to find a way around the courts to block the deal. He issued his decision in a closed-door room with reporters, and reportedly urged the government not to seek a stay. In fact, sometimes a merger can help competition and consumer choice, as is more often the case with vertical mergers. In other words: Calculated using expected revenue, AT&T is paying $36 billion for the portion of Time Warner's business that comes from AT&T's competitors. Comcast and Walt Disney dropped 4.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

It is about tectonic shifts in the media and technology industries.

The Justice Department rarely sues to block a "vertical merger" such as the AT&T and Time Warner because they are not considered as economically unsafe as "horizontal mergers" - or ones in which a companies buys direct competitors such as T-Mobile's pending deal for Sprint.

When the Justice Department filed suit previous year to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, its argument hinged on seemingly reasonable fears of a monopoly.

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

"The challenge for our time is to understand when vertical transactions can be problematic and when they're not", said Schaeffer, the Milbank Tweed attorney.

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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.

AT&T applauded the decision in a statement. "We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20", a day before the contractual deadline with Time Warner, said David McAtee, AT&T general counsel.

Time Warner's sale could shape how much U.S. consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

"We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner", the AT&T victory lap reads.

The deal cost AT&T's top lobbyist, Bob Quinn, his job in May after it became public that AT&T had paid Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen $600,000 for advice on winning approval.

Still, one potential target for Verizon would be a combined CBS Corp and Viacom Inc, analysts have said, assuming that on ongoing legal battle between CBS's controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, and the company's board, is resolved.