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"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", Mr. Delrahim said.

AT&T and other wireless carriers need to find new sources of revenue as the mobile phone market stagnates and more customers abandon pricey cable and satellite packages for streaming services they can watch on their phones or televisions. Time Warner and AT&T avoided invoking the president's statements before and during the trial, and the judge barred them from obtaining White House communications to introduce in the trial, stating in March that the companies had "fallen far short of establishing that this enforcement action was selective". Cable network owner Discovery Inc saw shares increase 3.2 percent while mobile providers, Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc, which are waiting for a government approval of their own, also saw a bump following the decision.

However, in Verizon's most recent quarterly earnings call, executives said they would rather sit out the current consolidation, and instead build out its content offerings through partnerships with independent media companies. Looming in the background of the deal has been Trump's long-running feud with Time Warner's CNN, which he has often derided as "failing" and a purveyor of "fake news".

A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner on Tuesday, a move that could usher in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon found little to support the government's arguments that the deal would harm consumers, calling one position "gossamer thin" and another "poppycock".

He took issue with the government's analysis that the merger would result in higher prices for consumers, telling a packed courtroom that the findings "rested on improper notions."‬ And Leon also warned the US government against seeking a stay on the merger if it brings an appeal for the goal of trying to stymie the deal.

Halford, from OC&C added, "All I know is that this will be a blockbuster summer for media mergers!"

The deal is set to unite AT&T's significant wireless, satellite television and internet business with Time Warner's media properties, which include HBO and CNN.

"This was a defining case for antitrust enforcement in the USA", former Justice Department antitrust attorney Ketan Jhaveri said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS, said the AT&T decision could "serve as a "green light" for other mergers and acquisitions, including Comcast's of Fox.

"Common sense tells you that this degree of concentrated power isn't right", wrote Zephyr Teachout, a candidate for attorney general of NY, wrote immediately following the judge's ruling. He expressed confidence that regulators will see consumer value in the deal and approve the acquisition.

"We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner", said David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel.

The AT&T lawsuit is the first time in decades that a government challenge of a "vertical merger" - involving two companies that do not directly compete - has gone to court.

The Justice Department, which had sued to block the purchase, has the option of appealing the decision.

But some outside of government are anxious about what it could mean for competition.

AT&T and Time Warner say the combined company can leverage viewer data to make better content to sell more targeted ads, which they claim could help lower prices for consumers.

During the trial, the judge heard from dozens of witnesses, including AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes.

Government lawyers had argued that the takeover would hurt innovation and allow AT&T to charge rival providers more for its must-have content - costs that would ultimately be passed on to consumers.

Russia’s Putin would be ready to host G7 in Moscow
The group used to be called G8 before Russia's membership was suspended in 2014 after the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis. Trump and Putin have spoken by phone eight times, according to readouts distributed by the White House.



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