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US telecoms giant AT&T Inc has completed its $85bn takeover of entertainment giant Time Warner Inc.
“We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers,” AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said in a statement.
The deal, first announced in October 2016, was opposed by President Donald Trump and the Justice Department over competition fears. AT&T was earlier sued by the Justice Department, but won approval this week following a six-week trial. The court ruled that the deal to marry AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.
The Justice Department had argued that the deal would harm consumers and still has 60 days to appeal the decision. It had argued that AT&T’s ownership of both DirecTV and Time Warner, especially its Turner subsidiary, would give AT&T unfair leverage against rival pay TV providers that relied on content like CNN and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
The merger, including debt, would be the fourth largest deal ever attempted in the global telecom, media and entertainment space, according to Reuters data.