After a 15-month attempt by the Trump administration to block AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase deal with Time Warner, the company emerged victorious -- the U.S. Justice Department declared it would not fight an appeals court approval of the deal.
President Trump has been critical of this acquisition because he saw it helping Time Warner’s CNN unit, which he accused of disseminating fake news.
However, this accusation by the government was deemed unpersuasive by the three judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, resulting in approval of the deal.
In an era of Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOGL) that allows access of content with no need for cable subscription, the merger is a turning point as it sets the stage for the No. 2 wireless carrier to integrate its WarnerMedia business as well as its new Xandr advertising unit.
The merger, which was announced in October 2016, closed on June 14, 2018, shortly after U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled it was legal under antitrust law. However, Gigi Sohn, who worked at the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, said the ruling showed a need to reform antitrust laws so the government can prevent problematic deals.