AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) now appears primed to make a major acquisition that would consolidate power within the media space even further.
As CNBC reports, a U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of the telecom and TV giant’s takeover of a major media play:
A federal judge said Tuesday that AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner is legal, clearing the path for a deal that gives the pay-TV provider ownership of cable channels such as HBO and CNN as well as film studio Warner Bros.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon did not impose conditions on the merger’s approval. He also urged the government not to seek a stay when issuing his decision in a closed-door room with reporters.
Naturally, AT&T is thrilled with the ruling. “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,” said General Counsel David McAtee.
Meanwhile, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said the Justice Department was disappointed. “We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner. We will closely review the Court’s opinion and consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers,” he said in a statement.
AT&T Inc. shares fell $0.71 (-2.07%) in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, T has declined -9.21%, versus a 4.94% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.