On Thursday night, soon after the Justice Department said it would not seek a stay of its antitrust lawsuit, AT&T completed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. AT&T was anxious to close the deal by June 20, at which point Time Warner could withdraw or renegotiate its terms. A federal judge approved the merger on Tuesday.
The combination of AT&T, the No. 2 wireless carrier, and Time Warner's stable of content — including HBO, CNN, Warner Bros., TBS, and TNT — plus AT&T's DirecTV subsidiary will reshape the media and entertainment landscape. Only a handful of other internet companies control both the content and means to distribute it: Comcast owns NBCUniversal and is bidding for 21st Century Fox, and Verizon owns AOL and Yahoo. The Justice Department has 60 days to appeal its loss of the antitrust lawsuit, but experts suggest it would likely lose any appeal. Peter Weber