The $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner was approved Tuesday. That would have made it the seventh biggest American company by revenue previous year, and it will have the thirteenth biggest market valuation.
Executives and investors had watched the six-week trial closely, looking for signs about how it might alter their ambitions. Comcast was looking to make a bid for Fox previous year, but that fell apart amid concerns that the government would block the deal, but the recent AT&T/Time Warner decision has clearly renewed their confidence.
"We are disappointed with the Court's decision today", Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement. However, now that the AT&T deal has been approved by a federal judge, there is precedent for such a deal and Comcast believes it won't be blocked.
Traditional telecommunications companies see these deals as vital to their survival in the cord-cutting era - an entertainment epoch in which streaming services like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime have already gained a strong foothold. However, AT&T has argued that making such a deal would be necessary to compete against other tech companies. Bewkes' company, with its popular HBO shows, live National Basketball Association and NCAA sports broadcasting rights, and CNN, has been a takeover target for years.
CNN is a unit of Time Warner.
For this reason, the government was hoping that Leon would at least put conditions on the merger, like requiring the telecom to sell off some of Time Warner's most coveted properties.
"We are grateful to the court for seeing it the way we did", Gindseberg said.
Presidential politics clouded the merger from nearly the moment it was announced.
Initially AT&T and Time Warner planned to use a "selective enforcement" defense, alleging that the administration was blocking the deal because of Trump's dislike of CNN.
Most analysts had expected that District Judge Richard Leon would rule in favor of the companies and strike down a Justice Department's lawsuit to block the deal, which may have muted some of the immediate reaction. But Leon blocked discovery on certain White House communications AT&T and Time Warner sought, and ultimately the companies dropped that defense, choosing to litigate the case on pure anti-trust grounds. The companies rejected both options.
Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said the government's case ignores the technology which is rapidly changing the media sector.