The Justice Department had filed a lawsuit against the proposed merger of AT&T with Time Warner and it argued that the deal would be anti-competitive. However, a judge has now ruled that the merger can go through and many are saying that this could turn out to be one of the most consequential antitrust decisions in recent years. The decision thus clears the path for AT&T to merge with Time Warner but the Justice Department does have the right to appeal this decision.
AT&T and Time Warner announced their decision to marge back in October 2016. It was one of the biggest deals of its kind, valued at $86 billion. The decision comes after a six-week trial in which the Justice Department tried to establish that the combined entity would become a major player that’s powerful enough to dictate unfair terms in the marketplace.
The Justice Department also argued that the deal could have an impact on the economy as well and used expert testimony to highlight those dangers. AT&T maintains that the merger is essential for the company to compete against major players in the industry and argues that the deal would end up offering better terms to consumers.
Judge Richard Leon didn’t block the deal or even make a conditional decision which would have imposed some concessions on AT&T in order to complete the merger. The judge has ruled that the merger can go through without any conditions as the Justice Department failed to satisfy the legal requirement to show that competition will be lessened significantly if the merger was allowed to go through.