On Tuesday a federal judge approved the merger of telecommunications giant AT&T with the media group Time Warner.
Justice Richard Leon rejected the government’s argument that the transaction is hurting competition in the pay-TV sector and that consumers are forced to spend hundreds of millions more to view television and film content. .
In announcing his decision on Tuesday, Justice Leon ended the largest antitrust case in recent years. His judgment authorizes the transaction of $85 billion , one of the largest in the history of US media.
The combination allows AT & T, a telephony network operator and a pay-TV giant, to absorb, among others, the owner of CNN and HBO cable channels and the Warner Bros. movie studio. These assets hold several valuable content, such as the TV series Game of Thrones .
The US Department of Justice may decide to appeal the decision. AT & T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the judge, the government failed to provide evidence that was sufficiently substantiated to support its antitrust arguments.
This decision of a federal judge probably announces a wave of consolidation in the sector. Federal regulatory authorities are likely to have greater difficulty preventing businesses from growing by swallowing rivals and programming. And even companies that do not necessarily need to grow immediately may be tempted to do so to avoid a competitor shaming them.
Some observers expect the Comcast telecommunications group to make an offer to buy Fox entertainment assets on Wednesday. Disney has already filed a $52.4 billion stock offering to get hold of most of Twenty-First Century Fox’s assets, including studios for Avatar movies and The Simpsons and Modern Family TV series. .
Comcast has promised to push up the auction, and the AT&T favorable ruling could melt any regulatory hesitation that would have kept it from doing so far.
Diane Elliot is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years experience. While studying journalism at University of Southern California, Diane found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Coastal Morning Star, Diane mostly covers human interest pieces.