Comcast $65bn bid sets up battle with Disney for Fox

Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse

The Fox board rebuffed its more generous offer last December and picked Disney's lower-value, $52.4 billion all-stock bid because it was viewed as the safer bet - especially in light of the Trump Administration's Justice Department antitrust suit seeking to block the AT&T-Time Warner combination.

However, the Federal Court rejected those arguments and approved the deal without conditions.

Now that the merger has been given the go ahead, AT&T will add Time Warner's content to its existing paid TV subscription.

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, and go head-to-head with Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

A high-stakes decision in a United States court Tuesday will be significant for the future of Big Media, Big Tech and big business in general.

Attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who represented AT&T, said the firm expects to complete the transaction before 21 June.

AT&T says it plans to move forward with the deal in less than a week, leaving a small window of time for the justice department to file an appeal.

Harry Litman is the former USA attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice.

The planned deal is seen as a turning point for a media industry that has been upended by companies like Netflix Inc and Google which produce content and sell it online directly to consumers, without requiring a pricey cable subscription.

Critics pointed out that the deal wouldn't be the end of such massive mergers, and may in fact open the doors to similar acquisitions among other companies.


Gerzof Richard said he believes the merger will lead to greater diversity in programming and in how the programming is delivered to homes and devices.

Leon described part of the government's case as "gossamer thin", saying that during the trial the Justice Department's expert witness declined to back some of the government's own theories. He has also discouraged the government agency from pursuing a stay of his decision if it will pursue an appeal.

"One can not ignore the fact that there's less independent content to go around", after the AT&T deal, said Henry Su, an antitrust expert with Constantine Cannon LLP. After his testimony, Leon said he was "confused".

Leon said the government failed to prove that the merger would lead to higher prices and other ham to consumers.

The court's decision in the case could have an enormous impact on the media landscape and the fate of future corporate mega-mergers.

Trump, who despises CNN, had threatened to kill the deal when it first surfaced in October 2016, when he was a presidential candidate.

There was also concern that the federal lawsuit might be politically motivated.

Some see the decision to challenge the merger as political, something the Justice Department has fiercely denied. Was Disney planning on using Hulu's tech to develop its own streaming service that debuts next year?

A spokesman for said that the definitive ruling in favor of its merger with AT&T was a confirmation that the case was politically motivated. "It looks bad to lose", said Radia.

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