The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, has given the greenlight to AT&T’s pending $85B acquisition of Time Warner. The approval had been expected and shares in both companies were up before the bell this morning (AT&T +.19% to $42.17 and Time Warner +.55% to $98.90).
“This is an important approval from a highly respected authority,” said Bob Quinn, senior EVP of AT&T External and Legislative Affairs. “The global clearance process is on track, and we look forward to creating a company that will lead the next wave of innovation in the media and telecommunications industries.”
The companies expect the deal to close by the end of the year with the only apparent hurdle the antitrust review at the Justice Department. The FCC appears to be out of the picture since Time Warner agreed to sell its TV station in Atlanta.
At the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona last month, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he sees “no current reason” to review the acquisition. He also said he would not be swayed by political pressures — including potentially from President Trump, who has said that he opposes the union.
AT&T shares have gained 9% in the last 12 months, and Time Warner has jumped 39% due to the deal.