The Justice Department said Tuesday that the government was “disappointed” in a federal judge’s decision to approve the $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner Inc. over objections by President Donald Trump.
“We are disappointed with the Court’s decision today,” Makan Delrahim, the head of the department’s antitrust division, said in a statement posted on Twitter:
BREAKING: AT&T wins court approval to buy Time Warner – Reutershttps://t.co/8weRIdbfd1
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) June 12, 2018
“We continue to believe that the pay-TV market will be less competitive and less innovative as a result of the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
“We will closely review the court’s opinion and consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition for the benefit of American consumers,” Delrahim said.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Tuesday rejected the Justice Department’s request for an order blocking the Time Warner acquisition after a six-week trial, saying the government failed to make its case that the combination would lead to higher prices for pay-TV subscribers.
Leon, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2002, put no conditions on the deal.
The Justice Department brought its lawsuit in November, the first major merger challenge under President Trump.
Trump railed against the deal when it was announced during the 2016 campaign, vowing that his administration would oppose it if he were elected — and he has relentlessly attacked CNN for its news coverage since beginning his White House term.
Atlanta-based CNN is owned by Time Warner.
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