A federal judge has approved the long-running merger between AT&T Inc and Time Warner Inc – rebuffing the government’s effort to stop the USD85 billion deal. In handing down his ruling, Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court in Washington took the unusual step of warning the government not to try to seek a stay, saying it would hurt the defendants, which had already gone through an 18-month regulatory and legal battle for their review. Industry observers believe that the decision is expected to pave the way for a wave of high-profile corporate takeovers.
David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel, commented: ‘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 … We look forward to closing the merger on or before 20 June so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.’
In October 2016 AT&T diversified its traditional telecoms-focused strategy when it agreed to pay USD85 billion for media and entertainment conglomerate Time Warner. The deal seeks to combine Time Warner’s vast library of content – it owns HBO, Warner Bros and Turner – with AT&T’s extensive customer base.