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Appeals court upholds AT&T-Time Warner merger ruling


AFP Washington
A US appeals court Tuesday green lit the mega-merger of wireless and broadband giant AT&T with media-entertainment powerhouse Time Warner, rejecting an effort by the administration of President Donald Trump to block the deal.
The appellate panel said the government's case failed to consider that the industry had become "dynamic in recent years" with the emergence of online services such as Netflix and Hulu.
The USD 85 billion deal brings together AT&T's wireless and broadband networks and its DirecTV subscription service with the media assets of Time Warner, which include CNN and other Turner cable channels, the Cartoon Network, premium channel HBO and the Warner Bros. movie studio.
The government brought the case, claiming the deal would give AT&T too much power in the market for pay television and home entertainment.
But US District Judge Richard Leon ruled last year that the government had failed to show the deal would harm competition.
The appellate court opinion by Judge Judith Rogers affirmed that decision, saying the industry is undergoing massive changes led by on-demand video services and rivals offering small packages of channels -- known as "skinny bundles."

"The merger of these innovative companies has already yielded significant consumer benefits, and it will continue to do so for years to come," David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel said in a statement.

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First Published: Feb 27 2019 | 12:50 AM IST

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