Judge approves AT&T's merger with Time Warner | AT&T

Share

A US District Court judge has cleared the merger of telecoms giant AT&T and media firm Time Warner, in a loss for government regulators.

"The impact from this decision will have wide-reaching ramifications across the telecommunications, media, and tech industry for decades to come", said GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives.

The deal is set to unite AT&T's significant wireless, satellite television and internet business with Time Warner's media properties, which include HBO and CNN.

Announced in October 2016, the deal was quickly denounced by Donald Trump, who as a candidate and later as president has been critical of Time Warner's CNN and its coverage. Therefore, AT&T would likely increase the rates that other content distributors must pay to air Time Warner content - forcing its rivals to either raise prices on their subscribers (which would inspire some consumers to switch to DirectTV), or else accept lower profit margins (which would impair their ability to compete with AT&T in the long term).

Vienna possible venue for Putin-Trump summit
Mr Trump had earlier called for Putin's country to be readmitted to the group in the interest of world politics. This marks Trump's second summit of the G-7, an informal gathering every year under a rotating chairmanship.

The mega-merger was a high-stakes bet by AT&T Inc. on combining a company that produces news and entertainment with one that funnels it to consumers.

The judge said that the Department of Justice did not sufficiently meet its burden of proving that the deal would allow AT&T to harm rival TV providers. He said that if the deal is blocked Time Warner's stock would likely react negatively, but the downside would appear contained with the stock now trading at 8.8x 2019E EBITDA versus 9.0x in the year prior to the deal announcement and the 8.4x multiple at CBS.

"This will be a blockbuster summer for media mergers", said Mary Ann Halford, senior adviser to OC&C Strategy Consultants.

It was reported in May that Comcast was preparing a $60 billion all-cash bid for 21st Century Fox media assets that Disney already agreed to buy for $52 billion in stock. "We strongly urge the Justice Department to appeal this decision all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary".

Man holds two people hostage in Paris
One of the hostages is reportedly a pregnant woman, and another is "severely injured", according to a witness. Police swept vehicles in the area with a device but found nothing, he said.

Their concerns only grew heightened after Monday, with the official end of federal net neutrality rules that required broadband providers, including AT&T, to treat all web traffic equally - and not prioritise their TV, movie or other content offerings over competitors.

AT&T and Time Warner together are some of the largest buyers of advertising around the globe, spending billions of dollars to market their products. Comcast and Verizon are also jockeying for position in the new landscape.

Still, at least one company, Comcast, the largest US cable provider, had been waiting for the court decision before making any large M&A moves in media, sources have said. Last fall, he presented AT&T and Time Warner with two options: Sell the majority stake in either DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting.

In the past, the federal antitrust attorneys didn't seem to be bothered if auto manufacturers owned the companies that stamped out fenders or auto bodies. "We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative". The 30-day waiting period needed for the deal to close will not begin until all the information has been obtained, and that process can take a while, Cantor said.

Super Mario Party - Official Game Trailer - Nintendo E3 2018
You can also pair up two Nintendo Switch systems and delight in this dynamic play style, such as in the new Toad's Rec Room mode. This includes mildly different character designs, new final smash attacks and more expressive facial expressions for everyone.

Share