In October of 2106 AT&T announced their plan to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion dollars.
In November of 2017 the Department of Justice, Antitrust division, filed a law suit to block the merger, stating in their filing that “the effect merger would be likely to lessen competition.”
On Tuesday June 12th, District Judge Richard Leon, ruled, in favor of the merger, stating in his one-hundred-seventy-two page ruling that he ultimately concluded that the Government had failed to prove the merger would “likely to lessen competition substantially.”
He adds based on that conclusion, and for “all the reasons set forth in greater detail in this Opinion, the Court Denies the Government’s request to enjoin the proposed merger.”
AT&T’s General Counsel, David McAtee, applauded the ruling saying in a statement, that they thank the Court for conducting a fair trial and that they look forward to closing the merger on or before the 20th of June.
Assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim said in a statement, via multiple sources that they are disappointed in the court’s decision today. Saying the government still believes that the cable market will be less competitive. Delrahim added, “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.”
In Judge Leon’s conclusion he did try and caution the government from delaying the merger further, saying that based on the “break-up fee” of $500 million that AT&T would have to pay Time Warner if the deal is not consummated by June 21st, 2018, that it would be unjust for further legal action.
Judge Leon adds that “the temptation by some to view this decision as being something more than a resolution of this specific case should be resisted by one and all!”