A federal appeal judge ruled wireless carrier AT&T Inc’s deal to buy media company Time Warner as valid on Tuesday, which will bring closer the conclusion of a years-long $85.4 billion merger process that Trump administration had argued to be a mean of higher prices for consumers.
With its second major court winning against the Department of Justice, AT&T will now be integrating Warner Media as well as its new advertising unit Xandr.
Previously in June, AT&T remained successful to get the go ahead for its merger deal unconditionally from a U.S. District Court, but Justice Department remained stick to its stance upon the merger that it would be coming out reducing competition among the players in pay-TV industry.
The agency’s stance was based on its concerns that merger will provide AT&T, which also runs its own satellite television DirecTV, an influential position to charge more for the Time Warner’s contents to its rival distributors effects of which will be put on to consumers in shape of higher prices, and for these concerns, Justice Department in July, after formal closure of the deal by AT&T, filed an appeal against the court ruling.
But Justice Department’s 15-months efforts to stop the merger came to an end with the current decision, in which a panel of three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia uphold the previous decision of District Court and ruled unanimously in favor of the AT&T’s merger deal.
Being a case of vertical integration, it carries a deep impact on such mergers which has become a norm in the tech and telecom industries, and attracted more criticism from the Trump administration, especially the CNN, an asset of Time Warner that became part of AT&T at completion of the deal, to which President Donald Trump has remained an outspoken critic and accused it of broadcasting “fake news.”