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Comcast eyes Fox after AT&T gets Time Warner merger approval

14 June 2018

He issued his decision in a closed-door room with reporters, and reportedly urged the government not to seek a stay.

The judge advised the U.S. regulators that their arguments were so weak that they should not even bother to appeal, although several legal experts believe the ruling is so significant it will not go unchallenged. In February, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for documents and emails between the Justice Department and the White House about the decision to sue AT&T and Time Warner. According to a scheduling order, AT&T has agreed not to complete the acquisition for six days to allow time for an appeal. At the beginning of June, the carrier staged an industry conference at Warner Bros.

Delrahim said the government was disappointed in the ruling and would "consider next steps". 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.

Roberts reportedly expressed disappointment in Fox's decision to move forward with a deal between Disney over Comcast's first all-cash offer and opted to offer a better deal following the approval of the At&T-Time Warner merger. Comcast is now expected to make an aggressive bid for parts of Fox, which already has a deal to sell some of its entertainment assets to Disney. A Comcast-Fox merger, like a Disney-Fox merger, would be similarly vertical by combining a distributor with a content producer.

Hulu is now jointly controlled by Disney, Fox, and Comcast which each own a 30 percent share.

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"We see FOXA as a clear victor following today's ruling", John Janedis, an analyst at Jefferies, told clients in a note Tuesday.

This could set off a battle between Comcast and Disney .

A Comcast spokesperson declined to comment.

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

Some of AT&T's top executives traveled to Washington for the announcement.

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Comcast said it is confident it will win regulatory approval and that its new offer "fully addresses" the stated concerns.

In this October 24, 2016, file photo, clouds are reflected in the glass facade of the Time Warner building in NY. This was the biggest antitrust case in many years, potentially paving the way for similar deals among other companies.

"This ruling, coupled with the government's abdication of open Internet protections yesterday, means the future of the Internet and content distribution is in the hands of a few, increasingly consolidated and powerful corporate gatekeepers", the Writer's Guild of America West told The Register.

AT&T argued that it was the very threats posed by the likes of Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook that demanded it expand into a media-tech titan.

During the trial, the judge heard from dozens of witnesses, including AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes.

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Outside of court, however, critics of the lawsuit pointed to Trump's frequent criticism of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner.

Comcast eyes Fox after AT&T gets Time Warner merger approval