Trump's Department of Justice tried with all its might to thwart the $85 billion deal to no avail, as the judge approved a merger that allows AT&T, which owns DirectTV, to absorb Time Warner, owner of CNN, HBO and Warner Bros.
Ryan Radia, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-of-center think tank in Washington, praised the ruling.
According to Deadline, CEO Brian Roberts told investors during the company's annual shareholders meeting early Monday morning that Comcast is in the "advanced stages" of preparing a bid for 21st Century Fox - an offer dependent on the ruling in the AT&T-Time Warner anti-trust case, which is expected later today.
The DOJ filed suit against AT&T in November of previous year, claiming that if the deal were allowed to go through, Time Warner's Turner television networks could be withheld from competing TV carriers or licensed at such a high cost as to give AT&T (who also owns DirecTV) an unfair advantage over its competitors. The AT&T - Time Warner ruling indicates Comcast has a shot at making it happen.
Comcast has made an all-cash offer of roughly $65 billion to acquire Fox's assets.
"Now, more than ever, we need reinvigorated regulatory oversight of the video marketplace - such as program access and program carriage rules - to ensure that smaller distributors and programmers, and consumers, aren't harmed by an increasingly uncompetitive market", the advocacy group Public Knowledge said in a statement.More news: U.S. Federal Open Market Committee June 13: Statement Text
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But the decision is also expected to have significant ripple effects, as it likely will make the government less likely to challenge some other pending deals. Should this happen, it would merge the likes of NBC and Universal with FX and 20th Century Fox.
When the deal was announced, it was also revealed that The Walt Disney Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger had agreed to continue in the position through the end of calendar year 2021 to oversee the transition. With that added revenue, it could eventually lower the cost of its subscription services, the company argues. Time Warner shares are up about 5% at $100.91.
There was also concern that the federal lawsuit might be politically motivated.
Initially AT&T and Time Warner planned to use a "selective enforcement" defense, alleging that the administration was blocking the deal because of Trump's dislike of CNN.
But Delrahim swore to the court that he was not influenced by the White House, and Leon stopped most of the arguments about political interference from entering the trial. And the outcome of this case may not foretell the future.
The Justice Department had sued to block the merger, in light of the latter potential consequences. "It looks worse to lose twice".