AT&T and Time Warner have agreed to extend the deadline for their long-delayed merger until June 21, according to an SEC filing Thursday. The extension should allow time for a verdict in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit seeking to block the deal. The trial will begin in March. June 21 is the date when both parties can officially abandon the deal.
The judge overseeing the Justice Department’s bid to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner said Thursday that he would deny a request to tighten protections on confidential data.
There is simply no way to view the comments by a federal judge last week that he will not issue his decision in the lawsuit filed by the government to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner until after April 22 as anything but bad news for the telco behemoth. Also, the consumer media and some in the financial press went bonkers last week when Dish Network announced that Chairman Charlie Ergen was once again giving up the chief executive title. It was hilarious. If Ergen was really interested in turning over the reins to someone else, he would have recruited a big name chief executive to take over.
A day after his Justice Department sued to stop AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, President Trump weighed in on the potential impact of the deal on the country. He said he’s not going to get involved in active litigation, but then added: “Personally, I’ve always felt that that was a deal that’s not good for the country. I think your pricing is going to go up. I don’t think it’s a good deal for the country. But I’m not going to get involved. It’s litigation.”
Former FCC Chairman Julius Genakowski, now a partner with The Carlyle Group, is troubled by the Department of Justice’s efforts to block AT&T from buying Time Warner. He says that yesterday’s lawsuit creates “unprecedented uncertainty for media companies” and that AT&T may be coerced into a divestiture that would be “unfair and potentially chilling.”
AT&T is standing behind CNN leader Jeff Zucker in the face of President Trump’s constant criticism of the news channel’s coverage — and as Trump’s Department of Justice now decides whether to allow AT&T to buy CNN parent Time Warner.
AT&T is bracing for an antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department that would attempt to block its pending acquisition of Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, on the grounds that it would harm consumers. But the DOJ is having trouble finding allies among state attorneys general.
An unprecedented two-day public back-and-forth between AT&T and the Department of Justice has cast serious doubt on when — or even if — the company’s planned acquisition of Time Warner will be closed.
The demands from the Justice Department set up a potential battle over the fate of the pending $85.4 billion deal.
The president’s view on the $85.4 billion merger has been quite un-Republican-like, and he wants to keep his campaign promise, which would mean intervening (and stifling CNN nemesis Jeff Zucker).
John Stankey, the CEO of telecom giant AT&T’s AT&T Entertainment Group, told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday that “content that is compelling matters” and that the company wants to fully participate in the programming business and not just treat it as “a hobby.”
Time Warner shares jumped late this morning after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that his agency probably won’t review its $85 billion deal to sell itself to AT&T. Last week, the entertainment giant agreed to sell its only TV station, Atlanta’s WPCH, to Meredith for $70 million — which means it would not be among the assets Time Warner will sell to the telco giant.