But AT&T rejected that idea, stating in a court filing that, "Divestitures here would destroy the very consumer value this merger is created to unlock". Instead, they argued the media industry is going through a massive change as fewer people subscribe to paid TV service and instead stream content via the internet. The combined company would have a library that includes HBO's hit Game of Thrones and channels like CNN, along with vast distribution reach through wireless and satellite television services across the country.
A rejection might have chilled possible multibillion-dollar deals involving other media companies.
Executives and investors had watched the six-week trial closely, looking for signs about how it might alter their ambitions. 21st Century Fox already agreed in December to sell those assets to Disney, which include all of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, a stake in Hulu, their stake in worldwide broadcaster Sky and many regional sports channels, among other assets.
The Department of Justice could decide to appeal the verdict. In recent decades, the government's antitrust enforcement actions have focused on deals where one company threatened to dominate too much of a specific industry. Rather than negotiating an agreement that imposes conditions on how AT&T can conduct business, Delrahim demanded AT&T sell businesses to address threats to competition, which the company refused to do.
His criticism prompted speculation that the lawsuit was politically motivated, Still, the Justice Department's case laid out a traditional antitrust theory: that combining two companies in different parts of a supply chain can give the merged company the ability to harm rivals.
But the most immediate effect of the deal will be on the already consolidated media market.
It is worth remembering that the Justice Department is reviewing the T-Mobile/Sprint combination, and the Justice Department did not approve AT&T's purchase of Time Warner.
The two then had a long lunch in the Time Warner dining room in NY and agreed that their industries were under siege. Comcast, which had earlier bid for the Fox assets but lost out to Disney, is expected to renew its pursuit now that AT&T has won. 'We're chasing their tail lights, ' Petrocelli said.
Presidential politics clouded the merger from nearly the moment it was announced.
Critics charged that Trump had come out against the deal because of Time Warner's CNN, which has been highly critical of his presidency. During the trial, AT&T made several efforts to introduce evidence about political interference into the case but was rebuffed by Judge Leon.
Delrahim had argued that the only way antitrust concerns could be resolved was through the sale of major businesses.
Now that a federal judge has approved AT&T's $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, other companies are likely to rush to consolidate.
The companies' main economist, Dennis Carlton from the University of Chicago, refuted Shapiro's model as overly complicated and rejected his conclusions.