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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.

Cases: 352891

Reported Deaths: 7597
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24704451
DeSoto23619283
Harrison21395335
Jackson15984255
Rankin15957294
Madison11224227
Lee10952180
Jones9316171
Forrest9136163
Lauderdale8211244
Lamar736590
Lowndes7253152
Lafayette6658125
Washington5681140
Pearl River5396155
Oktibbeha506598
Bolivar5022134
Warren4828128
Panola4823112
Marshall4759106
Pontotoc455773
Neshoba4487181
Hancock444488
Union441479
Monroe4390138
Lincoln4247116
Pike3771114
Leflore3696125
Alcorn362474
Tate356188
Sunflower351794
Adams350690
Scott349177
Yazoo344877
Copiah333569
Simpson329191
Itawamba318581
Tippah316569
Coahoma316385
Covington305584
Prentiss304163
Leake291976
Marion291882
George285851
Wayne282345
Grenada272488
Newton269264
Tishomingo241670
Stone240038
Winston238484
Jasper236248
Attala229974
Chickasaw222760
Clay204654
Holmes204374
Clarke190480
Tallahatchie185842
Smith184936
Calhoun184632
Yalobusha174241
Walthall151249
Lawrence146426
Greene144735
Amite140144
Noxubee137635
Perry137038
Montgomery134644
Carroll127531
Webster125132
Jefferson Davis121334
Tunica116627
Benton108425
Claiborne106131
Kemper105029
Humphreys102533
Franklin88724
Quitman86819
Choctaw83619
Wilkinson79632
Jefferson72328
Sharkey52018
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 595816

Reported Deaths: 11561
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson865251591
Mobile50436872
Madison37905534
Shelby27652260
Tuscaloosa27422465
Montgomery26428628
Baldwin26175329
Lee17414181
Calhoun15549334
Morgan15265291
Etowah15106372
Marshall13248236
Houston12297294
Elmore11006220
St. Clair10903252
Limestone10867158
Cullman10643206
Lauderdale10374255
DeKalb9603193
Talladega9032188
Walker7873288
Autauga7635114
Blount7463140
Jackson7450117
Colbert6780142
Coffee6515132
Dale5803117
Covington4864125
Russell483543
Chilton4828117
Franklin465681
Tallapoosa4591156
Escambia457583
Chambers4007125
Dallas3756164
Clarke374663
Marion3490107
Pike336979
Lawrence3280100
Winston301973
Bibb293766
Geneva293083
Marengo263867
Barbour254361
Pickens247962
Butler243672
Hale236979
Fayette228565
Henry218845
Monroe206941
Randolph203844
Cherokee201748
Washington189439
Macon172252
Crenshaw171758
Clay167659
Cleburne161845
Lamar152638
Lowndes146555
Wilcox132731
Bullock126542
Conecuh123032
Coosa119729
Perry111228
Sumter110933
Greene99937
Choctaw64525
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