WASHINGTON (Reuters) – AT & T Inc was victorious on Tuesday over the Trump administration's drawn-out attempt to block its $ 85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner as the US Justice Department said it would not fight an appeal as approved Agreement.
The acquisition had been closely monitored in political circles after being burned by US President Donald Trump, who opposed it because he saw it as an aid to Time Warner's CNN unit, which he has accused of sending "false news" .
The three judges panel on the US District Court of Appeal of Columbia ruled unanimously in favor of the deal on Tuesday, saying that the government's case that the merger would lead to higher consumer prices was "unpersuasive." The decision ended a 1
It was AT & Ts's other large chief of justice against the Ministry of Justice, and set the stage for second wireless operator to integrate the WarnerMedia business, as well as the new Xandr advertising unit.
"We are grateful that the Court of Appeals considered our objections to District Court public opinion. The department has no plans to seek further review," said Justice Department spokesman Jeremy Edwards in a statement.
Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department's antitrust department , AT & T General Counsel called David McAtee and Time Warner's former Secretary-General, Paul Cappuccio, to congratulate them on court victory, according to a source familiar with events.
McAtee said the merger "has already provided significant benefits to consumers and will continue to do so in the coming years. "
The agreement has been seen as a turning point for a media industry that has been terminated by companies such as Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc, Google making content online without the need for a cable subscription.
The merger, which was announced in October 2016, closed June 14, 2018, shortly after US district judge Richard Leon considered it was unfit for anti-trust law.
AT & T agreed to manage the Turner network separately until February 28, or to terminate the complaint by the Ministry of Justice. AT&T also agreed that it would have no part in setting Turner's prices to distributors, and the number of Turner's employees would remain largely unchanged.
The appeal court took a shot at Leon, who had scoffed at his assessment of the government's attempt to stop the deal.
"Without a doubt, the district court made some problematic statements that the government identifies and this right cannot ignore," the panel said in its opinion.
Gigi Sohn, who worked in the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration, then prevailed showed a need to reform antitrust laws so that the government can stop problematic agreements.
"AT&T favors both Time Warner and DirecTV content over its broadband services through the DirecTV Now and Watch services," she said. "Consumers are the losers."
The AT&T share closed 0.3 percent at $ 31.22 on Tuesday.
Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson; additional reporting by Sheila Dang and Helen Coster; editing Chizu Nomiyama, Meredith Mazzilli and Leslie Adler