AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision Inspires Mixed Emotions in Hollywood

Variety | 6/12/2018 | Brent Lang
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On Tuesday afternoon, there was only one media story that mattered to the entertainment business. Across Hollywood, the talk was almost exclusively about the pending federal court ruling on AT&T’s $85 billion bid for Time Warner, the company behind Warner Bros., HBO, and CNN.

Work screeched to a halt Tuesday afternoon on Warner Bros.’s Burbank lot and in Time Warner’s sprawling mid-town Manhattan office complex as employees gathered around televisions, scrolled through Twitter, and kept checking their phones for updates.

Sense - Relief - Applause - Insiders - Word

There was a palpable sense of relief and even some scattered applause, insiders said, when word finally came that U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon had upheld the merger. Employees on both coasts were largely relieved by the sweeping nature of Leon’s decision. The judge rejected the Justice Department’s lawsuit claiming that the marriage of the telecom giant and the entertainment company represented an anti-trust violation and imposed no conditions on the merger.

“We’ve been in a holding pattern for so long,” said one Time Warner employee. “At least now we have some clarity.”

AT - T - Deal - Win - Consumers

AT&T presented the deal as a win for consumers, saying the merger means “we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.” But most industry observers think the big winners will be corporate lawyers, bankers, and moguls, all of whom are poised to benefit from a coming wave of media consolidation.

“It’s not the summer of love,” said one studio executive. “It’s the summer of chaos.”

Comcast - Judge - Rubber - Stamping - AT

Comcast, emboldened by the judge’s rubber stamping of the AT&T/Time Warner deal, is expected to formally make an offer on Wednesday for most of Fox’s film and television assets. The cable giant hopes to play spoiler, potentially plucking Fox away from the Walt Disney Company, which has a deal to buy the bulk of the company. At the very least...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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