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"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".

AT&T Inc won approval from a U.S. court on Tuesday to buy Time Warner Inc for $85 billion, without conditions, allowing AT&T to compete with internet companies that dominate digital advertising and providing new sources of revenue.

Leon also said it would be harmful for him to put a temporary stay on the merger while the government appeals his decision, if it does so. The transaction will close on June 20th and makes AT&T the new owner of CNN, HBO, TNT and TBS.

To see how this could happen, consider that, after the merger, AT&T would have the rights to all of HBO's output, CNN, live National Basketball Association and NCAA broadcasts, and many more desirable Time Warner properties. Most analysts believe that the decision is likely to set off a wave of takeovers and consolidation in tech, telecom, and media. But Comcast has said it's prepped to top Disney's bid for the 21CF assets - and it's widely expected that Comcast will pull the trigger now that the AT&T-Time Warner merger has the go-ahead.

Beyond media and telecom, the ruling could affect the Justice Department's stance toward other big deals in the works, such as CVS's proposed purchase of Aetna.

Twenty-First Century Fox jumped 7 percent in extended trade after the ruling on expectations that Comcast and Walt Disney Co could start a bidding war to acquire its media assets.

Trump, Kim sign "comprehensive" document (with joint statement)
The State Department is declining to release any additional information about the calls. The annual South Korea-U.S. military drills are carried out twice in spring and fall.

The two then had a long lunch in the Time Warner dining room in NY and agreed that their industries were under siege.

The AT&T-Time Warner merger is a direct result of media companies like Netflix and Amazon creating and distributing content through alternative means to traditional cable. It's about how and where we consume content and it's about the data that companies like Netflix, Facebook and Amazon collect on viewing habits and consumer behavior that gives them a leg up over companies like Time Warner and AT&T. "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", Delrahm added in a statement.

The decision represents a setback for the Department of Justice, whose antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, had argued strenuously against the merger.

Beyond the impact on the companies, the merger is expected to spur frantic dealmaking in the rapidly consolidating media sector. Stephenson was relieved. So was outgoing Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, who also learned the news from a phone call.

The government argued during the trial that if AT&T were to own Time Warner, it could violate antitrust law by using its market power to get higher prices from TV distributors.

Outside of court, however, critics of the lawsuit pointed to Trump's frequent criticism of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner. But Leon denied AT&T's request to disclose any communications between the White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the merger and between Sessions and the department's antitrust division, keeping such speculation a mystery. An appeal could force the date to be moved back again, perhaps with new demands placed on AT&T by impatient Time Warner shareholders.


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