'A judge has approved AT&T’s $85bn (£63.5 bn) purchase of Time Warner, rejecting the federal government’s argument that the deal would disadvantage customers and breaking with Donald Trump.
The ruling clears the way for AT&T to control both the means of distribution, via its ownership of satellite television network DirectTV, and a content-production empire that includes HBO, CNN and film studio Warner Bros.
“We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile and innovative”, AT&T said in a statement.
When the Justice Department filed an antitrust last year to block the deal, officials warned that allowing the merger to go forward would create a mammoth entertainment conglomerate that could raise prices and stifle competitors.
“The proposed merger would result in fewer innovative offerings and higher bills for American families”, the lawsuit alleges, including “by substantially lessening competition among traditional video distributors and slowing emerging online competition”
Officials with AT&T rejected those arguments and called the Justice Department lawsuit an overreach, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the lawsuit “stretches the very reach of antitrust law behind the breaking point” and arguing the government’s contention that AT&T would gain too much market power “defies logic”'
Read more: Judge approves AT&T's $85 billion Time Warner takeover in defeat for US government and despite Donald Trump criticism