AT&T approval boosts stocks of possible merger targets

Courts To M&A Bankers “Everbody Gets Laid!”

"The decision will very much send a signal as to what to expect from the DOJ in the future", Napolitano told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria".

After almost two years, AT&T is on the cusp of completing its acquisition of Time Warner, a deal it struck in a bid to become an entertainment giant that can feed Time Warner programming like HBO and CNN to its 119 million mobile, internet and video customers.

The merger's approval was a stinging defeat for the Justice Department, which could move to appeal Leon's ruling. Announced in October 2016, the deal was quickly denounced by Donald Trump, who as a candidate and later as president has been critical of Time Warner's CNN and its coverage.

AT&T asked the court to approve their $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner to be approved without any preconditions. Major cable, satellite and phone companies are bulking up with purchases of entertainment conglomerates to compete against rivals born on the internet, like Amazon and Google.

Twenty-First Century Fox, which has garnered interest from Disney and Comcast, saw its shares climb 4.6 percent, to $42.25, in after-hours trading. Comcast and Verizon are also jockeying for position in the new landscape. Trump had pledged to block the deal when he was campaigning for president.

Those comments and his repeated criticism of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner's unit Turner Broadcasting, raised speculation that Trump had pushed Delrahim and the Justice Department to block the deal.

Courts To M&A Bankers “Everbody Gets Laid!”

AT&T's politically charged takeover of Time Warner was approved by a U.S. judge on Tuesday in a blow to the Trump administration which had fought hard to have the deal scrapped.

Leon said the evidence and testimony provided by the government were faulty and that it never proved the merged entity would have increased leverage over its competitors.

A Comcast-Fox deal would be another vertical merger, like the AT&T-Time Warner deal. The government's star witness was Carl Shapiro, an economist at the University of California, who used an economic model to predict that consumer cable bills could rise by $500 million annually in aggregate by 2021.

Now that a federal judge has approved AT&T's $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, other companies are likely to rush to consolidate. The companies rejected both options.

AT&T said it intends to close the merger by June 20. AT&T and Time Warner say that by coming together they can create synergies of data and information that will help them make better content and sell more targeted ads, which they claim could ultimately help lower prices for consumers. The government failed to prove that the merger would dampen competition and innovation and raise prices for pay TV, said Daniel Petrocelli, the companies' lead attorney in defending the merger.

In denying any attempt by the government to seek a stay of his ruling during appeal, Leon said AT&T and Time Warner "understandably fear the government will now seek to do indirectly what it couldn't accomplish directly".

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