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

This move comes in the wake of Tuesday's verdict that approved the merger of AT&T's and Time Warner for $85 billion, despite efforts by the Justice Department to block it. The corporate combination promises to unleash even more megamergers in the fast-changing digital media space.

David McAtee, AT&T's general counsel, said AT&T expected to close the deal by June 20. But those tech companies now spend billions of dollars a year on original programming, and users can stream their video on apps in homes and on mobile devices, pulling attention from traditional media businesses. And Leon's decision is likely to trigger a wave of new mergers, as many executives were waiting to for the outcome of AT&T's bid before pushing forward with their desired deals.

Disney itself has "surgically" structured a transaction that "might be doable", avoiding Fox Broadcasting and big Fox sports channels, USA antitrust chief Makan Delrahim said last week.

"Judge OKs AT&T merger with Time Warner, rejecting government argument it would hurt pay-TV consumers, competition".

Delrahim said the Justice Department remains committed to preserving competition for the benefit of consumers and is reviewing its options. Those will be spun off into a new company. Some suspected, however, that the real motivation behind the DOJ's case may be personal and political agenda of Donald Trump himself: He sees CNN as his political nemesis, and CNN is owned by Time Warner. They've now won that bet. After all, Netflix and Amazon are already vertically integrated. "AT&T and Time Warner concluded that each had a problem the other could solve", he wrote.

President Trump has been screaming "fake news" and trying to break media conglomerates since he took office, but yesterday, the free press scored a "yuge" win as a federal judge approved a blockbuster merger of telecommunications titan AT&T and media giant Time Warner.

Shares of AT&T spiked immediately after the announcement and are now down about 2% in after-hours trading. Shares of AT&T (T) slid by just under 3 percent.

Comcast has offered $65bn (£47bn) for 21st Century Fox's global entertainment assets, throwing down a challenge to Disney's $60bn bid in a move likely to prompt a fierce bidding war between the USA giants. A much smaller Comcast tried to buy Disney in 2004 but was rebuffed.

John Bergmayer of the consumer group Public Knowledge said any Comcast deal should face scrutiny, especially in light of the expiration of provisions from its 2011 takeover of NBCU.

But the legal landscape for mergers is far from settled.

Attorneys for AT&T and Time Warner argued that it would be absurd for them to deny their shows to millions of viewers, because it would cost them millions in lost broadcast fees and advertising revenues. "It's creating a company that is going to put companies like Google and Netflix in check".

  • Eleanor Harrison