Judge clears AT&T takeover of Time Warner

Judge clears AT&T takeover of Time Warner

It's widely thought that Comcast may now make a bid for Fox, and that CBS and Viacom may merge. As reported by CNBC, the global telecommunications conglomerate was willing to offer $60B in cash for the Rupert Murdoch-founded company.

The court approval ended a heated antitrust battle, and suggested Comcast would be able to clear any regulatory hurdles to a deal with Fox.

These assets are expected to include the Fox movie studio, some networks like FX and Nat Geo, the company's Hulu stake, and more. Back in December, it was announced that Disney was looking to grab the assets for $52 billion.

Those fears subsided yesterday, at least in the eyes of Comcast, when a USA district judge overruled the DOJ and declared that the AT&T-Time Warner deal could proceed without antitrust fears.

The ruling could also prompt a cascade of pay TV companies buying television and movie makers, with Comcast Corp's bid for some Twenty-First Century Fox Inc assets potentially the first out of the gate.

Fox in a statement said it had received the proposal and would review it.

But Judge Richard Leon rejected those arguments, approving the deal without conditions.

Analysts say the decision will bolster firms such as Comcast - which is considering bidding for 21st Century Fox assets, including its stake in Sky, in a challenge to a deal announced between Fox and Disney a year ago.

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A high-stakes decision in a U.S. court Tuesday will be significant for the future of Big Media, Big Tech and big business in general.

Earlier this year, it seemed as though the Disney/Fox merger was progressing just fine, with 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice telling Fox employees that the deal would most likely be completed by the end of summer 2019 at the latest.

Comcast if successful would be able to expand beyond United States borders to new markets in Europe and India.

The Comcast bid includes the same $2.5 billion termination fee and $1.5 billion break-up fee should the deal fail to close as Disney offered. AT&T and Time Warner claimed the deal will be good for consumers and help them compete against tech companies such as Google and Facebook.

Should the board decide Comcast has the better deal, Disney would have five days to come up with a counter.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop the deal in November 2017, saying that AT&T's ownership of both DirecTV and Time Warner would give AT&T unfair leverage against rival cable providers that relied on Time Warner's content, such as CNN and HBO's "Game of Thrones".

A federal judge handed AT&T a sweeping victory on Tuesday and approved its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, a deal that promises to reshape the media industry. "We thank the Court for its thorough and timely examination of the evidence, and we compliment our colleagues at the Department of Justice on their dedicated representation of the government".

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