The 6-week trial seeking to challenge the $85.4 billion acquisition of the Time Warner Company by the AT&T Company was concluded on Tuesday by federal Judge Richard Leon. Accordin to details of the rulling, the court opined that the government, which was petitioning in opposition to the merger, was not at a position to sufficiently prove that the deal would be in contravention to the stipulations of the antitrust laws.
The cell-phone giant, AT&T said it would secure the deal by 20th of this month, a move that would see the company gain control over HBO, Warner Bros, CNN, among other popular brands currently in the control of the Time Warner Company.
On its part, the Time Warner Company offered a statement implying that the government’s position on the matter had been deeply compromised by president Trump whose influence on the Department of Justice saw the case instituted. Despite the political meddling, according to the company, the deal would go as planned.
On previous occasions, the Department of Justice and the White House have denied their involvement in the case. During the trial, DOJ’s Makan Delrahim, the top antitrust official, issued a sworn affidavit saying that his position was not in any way influenced by the White House or other parties outside the Department. This came after the president had issued a statement hinting that he was in opposition of the deal when it was announced in 2016.
AT&T, in potential justification of the deal, later revealed that it desperately needed to acquire the Time Warner Company in order to give it a much-needed leverage in the highly competitive market where it faces competition from Netflix, Google, and Amazon.
Whereas most analysts anticipated the deal to be ratified by the court, they expected that the judge would propose a few amendments. In this regard, the judge had the option of giving an okay to the deal with certain conditions such as selling-off of certain assets of Time Warner or capping the prospect of hiking prices after the merger. Opponents of the deal say that it would reduce competition in the market while setting the pace for a ‘very powerful’ AT&T Company.
Speaking after the ruling, the DOJ said that it would review the ruling against its arguments and decide the next steps to take, including the possibility of filing an appeal.
The ratification of the deal has sent waves of hope among other companies eyeing such mergers including Comcast’s bid for 21st Century Fox, T-Mobiles bid for Sprint, CVS Health bid for Aetna and Cigna’s prospected merger with Express Scripts.