Back in 2016, AT&T announced it planned to acquire media giant Time Warner for $85 million paid out half in cash and half in stock at $107.50 a share. However, after Donald Trump was elected president, he announced he planned to block the acquisition because “it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” But after much deliberation to get the necessary legal defenses in place to block the purchase, it wasn’t enough in the end as a judge has ruled AT&T can buy Time Warner as originally intended.
“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision today,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement to the press. “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.”
Meanwhile, AT&T General Counsel David McAtee was thrilled with the decision. “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,” he said. “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. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.”
What does this mean for the end consumer? Right now, things remain unclear, but our best guess would be better content streaming options for AT&T subscribers. Time Warner owns HBO, CNN, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT, and even networks that air NBA games and NASCAR races. By obtaining these assets, the carrier gets a lot more content to offer customers. Shows like The Big Bang Theory, Anderson Cooper 360, Game of Thrones, and more will all be under AT&T’s umbrella so it should be interesting to see what they do with it all.
The acquisition has a deadline for later this month so we should be hearing more about it in the near future. Stay tuned.