Update 07/12/2018 at 4:56 P.M. EST: Well, it seemed like a done deal, but earlier today the Justice Department filed to appeal the approval of the AT&T-Time Warner merger, via CNBC.
The Justice Department was against the merger from the start, stating that it would decrease competition and raise prices for customers. Before a federal judge gave approval for the merger, the Justice Department tried to sue to stop it. This appeal is likely a final attempt to block the deal.
As of now, all we know is that there’s an appeal filed, so it’s not yet clear how long this will postpone the merger.
Original Article (06/15/18): AT&T is now much more than a phone and Internet service company. Late on Thursday, it announced that its planned acquisition of the media company Time Warner had finally been completed. The deal, which was first announced in October 2016, is worth about $85 billion.
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The closing of the deal comes after Federal Judge Richard J. Leon ruled earlier this week that the acquistion could go forward. The judge ruled over the objections of the U.S. Justice Department, who tried to make the case that AT&T’s full purchase of Time Warner would result in less competition in the media space. CNN reports that in a court filing on Thursday, the Justice Department said it would not seek a stay of this deal, but a spokesperson added that the department might still appeal the judge’s decision.
Randall Stephenson will remain as the chairman and CEO of AT&T, while Jeff Bewkes, the chairman and CEO of Time Warner, will now leave that role to become a senior advisor to AT&T during this transition period.
AT&T now owns Warner Bros, the film, TV and video game division that’s the home for the various DC Comics superhero comics, TV shows and movies. It’s also the movie home for the Harry Potter franchise. AT&T also now owns the pay cable channel HBO, with its large number of exclusive shows like Game of Thrones. Finally, AT&T owns the many cable TV networks under the Turner Broadcasting System brand, including CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, TruTV and more. It also owns 10 percent of the Hulu streaming TV and movie service.
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Many analysts believe AT&T bought Time Warner to better compete with the rise of popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. AT&T could launch its own streaming service, with content created by its Time Warner partners. Indeed, Time Warner has already announced plans for a DC Universe streaming service for its DC Comics TV shows and movies, and it could launch sometime later this year.