Mere minutes after a federal judge today gave Donald Trump’s Department of Justice a very public defeat and granted an unconditional OK to the $85 billion dollar marriage of AT&T and Time Warner, the conglomerate responded with circumspect joy.
“We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government’s lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner,” said AT&T top lawyer David McAtee today in a succinct display of heroic understatement. “We thank the Court for its thorough and timely examination of the evidence, and we compliment our colleagues at the Department of Justice on their dedicated representation of the government,” he added with a velvet shiv to the DOJ. “We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.”
In remarks delivered before his ruling was released, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon preempted an attempt at a stay by the DOJ to hobble the deal in the closing days. Knocking down the foundation of the government’s case, Judge Leon said the blockbuster combination would not lead to higher prices for consumers or harm competition. Leon’s 175-page ruling on Tuesday said he would not grant “a stay in the first instance.”
Of course, with this latest mega-merger looking set, the white gloves look to be off as Comcast is expected to make a big bucks play in the next day or so for FOX assets that seemed assured to be in the hands of Disney.
All of which means, AT&T is pleased, but is Bob Iger?