AT&T completes acquisition of Time Warner

AT&T announced Thursday evening that it has completed the acquisition of Time Warner. The announcement comes two days...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 8:53 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 8:53 AM

AT&T announced Thursday evening that it has completed the acquisition of Time Warner. The announcement comes two days after a judge ruled that the deal does not violate antitrust laws.

"The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate. Combine all that with AT&T's strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience," Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, said in a statement. "We're going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers."

Time Warner head Jeff Bewkes is now officially the former chairman and CEO of the company; he will be a senior advisor during a transition period, AT&T said. Bewkes' direct reports will now report to John Stankey, who is the CEO of AT&T's media business.

Earlier Thursday, the Justice Department said in a court filing that it would not ask for a stay to stop the merger, and the companies and the Justice Department together said that the deal could be closed immediately.

On Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon had approved AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, rejecting the government's antitrust objections.

The Justice Department may still appeal the judge's ruling in the case.

"This does not mean we have made a decision about an appeal," a Justice Department spokesperson said. "We are still evaluating options."

Related: Judge approves $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner deal

AT&T and Time Warner had previously agreed not to close until six days after a ruling, to give the government time to consider asking for a stay.

The deal will unite Time Warner's TV shows and movies with AT&T's enormous distribution system, including cell phone and satellite networks.

Leon took apart the government's case in his opinion. In an unusual move, he warned the government against asking him for a stay. He said a stay would be "manifestly unjust" because it would effectively kill the acquisition.

AT&T argued the deal was critical to its survival in an industry increasingly dominated by Netflix, Facebook and other newcomers. The Justice Department said a combination would harm competition and raise prices for consumers.

Related: Which media companies are still up for grabs?

Officials in the Justice Department's antitrust division were "disappointed but not surprised" because the judge seemed to cast doubt on their arguments during trial, a source with knowledge of the department's thinking said.

Leon also told Justice Department lawyers in court that he did not believe the government was likely to win an appeal on the merits.

In a letter to the Justice Department, AT&T and Time Warner's lead lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, laid out AT&T's plans for managing the Turner networks, which include CNN, HLN, TNT and TBS.

Turner will be managed as a "separate business unit," and AT&T will have no role in setting Turner's prices with distributors, the letter said. The number of Turner employees, pay levels and benefits "will remain largely unchanged," it said.

If a federal appeals court agrees to hear the case, it will probably go to a three-judge panel. A successful Justice Department appeal could undo the merger. If the government loses its appeal, it could still take the matter to the Supreme Court.

AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner is known as a vertical merger because the two companies do not directly compete with each other.

The Supreme Court has not heard a vertical merger case since the 1970s, and antitrust lawyers are eager for the high court to clarify modern standards on antitrust economics and law.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30900

Reported Deaths: 1111
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds249840
DeSoto159416
Madison130034
Jones112449
Neshoba98871
Rankin93412
Harrison91211
Lauderdale90979
Forrest86942
Scott77115
Jackson62216
Copiah60215
Washington5849
Leake57819
Holmes55341
Lee54718
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51518
Yazoo5096
Leflore48751
Grenada4835
Lowndes48313
Lincoln46034
Lamar4587
Pike43112
Monroe40130
Lafayette3914
Sunflower3727
Attala36023
Covington3565
Panola3506
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Simpson3173
Adams31118
Pontotoc2866
Tate28310
Marion28111
Chickasaw27718
Claiborne27410
Noxubee2638
Jasper2626
Winston2616
Pearl River25432
Clay25010
Marshall2323
Smith21811
Clarke20724
Union2079
Coahoma2016
Walthall1995
Kemper17914
Lawrence1772
Yalobusha1707
Carroll16511
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1322
Calhoun1304
Tippah13011
Hancock12813
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George883
Tishomingo801
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn692
Perry664
Stone651
Franklin452
Sharkey370
Benton360
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 83°
Columbus
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather