Monopoly season is open, and Net Neutrality just died. The Justice Department will not try to stop AT&T from purchasing Time Warner, and the companies are now free to close their deal. The government may yet appeal a ruling on its antitrust lawsuit against the ultra-giga-mega-merger.
Today's news means the AT&T and Time-Warner are free to close the $85.4 billion deal, about 20 months after first announcing the plan.
From the New York Times:
The department had six days to seek an injunction after a federal judge approved AT&T's purchase of Time Warner on Tuesday. That decision is expected to prompt a series of other mergers, especially in the media industry.
However, the Justice Department still has 60 days from the date of the ruling to file an appeal, even if the companies close the merger, and such a filing remained a possibility.
"We are still considering whether or not to appeal," a spokesman for the department said Thursday.
There was a time limit on when the government could seek an injunction, because the merger agreement between the companies expires on June 21. If an injunction had been granted, the companies would have had to extend the date or AT&T would have had to pay Time Warner $500 million in what is known as a reverse termination fee.
Related, in NYT Opinion: "The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Hurts Consumers."
Although the AT&T deal is now cleared to close, DOJ may still appeal the judge's ruling. "We are still evaluating options," a DOJ official says. Full story by @Hadas_Gold and @SchneiderCNN here https://t.co/9oQPfti2Vr
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 14, 2018
The AT&T / Time Warner ruling: "it embraces the legal status quo that has allowed corporate power to reach unprecedented levels, and thoroughly rejects an attempt to rethink the way antitrust law can be used to keep that power in check" https://t.co/cgoLGNKG7Y
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) June 14, 2018