A historic decision has been reached in the court case dealing with AT&T’s attempted acquisition of Time Warner. Following the Department of Justice’s claim that the deal violated federal anti-trust laws, it had to be determined in the courts if this merger violated any regulations before it could be cleared to go through. In a decision today, Judge Richard Leon, US District Court judge for the District of Columbia, ruled that AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner is legal, and therefore the deal can go through.
Leon deemed AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner violated no anti-trust laws, though there will likely be an appeal of this decision by the Department of Justice. Until then, as of right now, the deal can go through meaning that AT&T will now own the properties under Time Warner’s, such as DC Comics, HBO and CNN. Keep in mind that AT&T also owns DirecTV, which means there a chance those premium channels could move over to that service. AT&T’s ownership of DirecTV was a central part of the Department of Justice’s arugment against the deal, citing a potential rise in prices for customers because of it.
As for what this means for DC Comics, it’s unclear. However there have been rumors that AT&T could farm out DC’s library of characters to different production companies should they choose.
But this also bodes well for the Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. If this deal was ruled in compliance with federal regulation, despite the Department of Justice’s complaints, there will likely be no issues found in Disney’s acquisition, as no anti-trust arguments have been raised against that deal to date. However, it also all but assures that Comcast, who are in a similar position to AT&T in their deal, will view this as a green light to move forward on their bid for Fox as well.