Mergers’ Day in Court Congloms everywhere are anxiously awaiting the ruling on AT&T-TIME Warner
AT&T-TIME Warner combo is the opening act, but there are many options shaping what’s to come
AFTER A SIX-WEEK TRIAL, June 12 will mark the date when a federal judge in Washington is scheduled to make a huge reveal that could very well shape the future direction of the media, technology and entertainment industries.
Richard J. Leon selected a specific time — 4 p.m. EDT — to announce his decision in U.S. v. AT&T Inc. et al, the case that the Justice Department filed to stop the combination of AT&T with Time Warner.
The case undoubtedly will impact future deals, including The Walt Disney Co.’s proposed acquisition of Fox’s assets and Comcast’s potential counteroffer. There also is the ongoing drama over a Cbs-viacom reunion, and speculation that Verizon is looking for a content giant.
“The [Wall Street] consensus is that AT&T has an 80% chance of winning,” says Craig Moffett of research firm Moffettnathanson. “I’m not in the consensus. I think it’s a coin flip. Because of that, I would caution against looking at this as a binary yes- or-no decision. A lot depends not only on what the judge says but how he says it. There will be a lot of important nuance in the verdict itself.”
The decision could go a number of ways:
SCENARIO: AT&T WINS. If Leon were to rule that the merger can proceed as is, it would be a relief to the companies, which had set a deadline of June 21 to complete their deal.