Court allows AT&T purchase of Time Warner in major media acquisition


A federal judge approved AT&T Inc’s attempt to purchase Time Warner Inc with no restrictions Tuesday, despite objections by the Department of Justice, which said the deal violates antitrust law.

AT&T originally announced its intentions to purchase Time Warner, which owns Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting, in 2016. The $85 billion move has been on hold for a year and a half as the two companies have faced a challenge from the Department of Justice.

The ruling, which was handed down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, could have an impact on potential mergers and acquistions between content providers and creators in the near future.

The federal government maintained that the purchase violated antitrust law because AT&T owns satellite provider DirecTV, a content distributor, and Time Warner is a content producer. The DOJ said the move would result in higher prices for consumers and lessen competition in the realm of subscription television.

AT&T argued the move is legal, and said an acquisition of Time Warner would benefit consumers by creating an alternative to traditional cable and would improve AT&T’s advertising model, cutting costs for consumers.

Tuesday’s ruling could impact potential future acquisitions between TV providers and content creators which are on the horizon. Cable company Comcast announced in May it is considering buying 21st Century Fox, with the exception of certain properties, including Fox News and Fox Broadcasting.

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