Here’s why the AT&T-Time Warner merger just got approved

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"As for Disney, this legal outcome was probably the least attractive as it will likely lead to an aggressive counter-bid from Comcast and an absence of heightened regulatory concern from the (21st Century Fox) board", writes Michael Nathanson, an analyst with MoffettNathanson, in a note to clients today.

After all, Disney is big, but Disney is mostly an entertainment conglomerate, whereas Comcast is an industry that provides services to consumers.

Nabila Ahmed, Deals reporter for Bloomberg News covering media and telecom mergers and acquisitions.

Comcast is expected to offer $60 billion for the Fox regional sports networks, the FX cable channel, the Sky satellite-TV business in Europe, Fox movie and television studios, and Fox global channels as early as Wednesday.

United States cable giant Comcast has launched a $65bn cash bid for 21st Century Fox's entertainment businesses, setting up a battle with Disney which has offered $52bn in stock.

That case was dismissed on Tuesday, giving new impetus to Comcast's proposal and perhaps many more deals like it in the not-too-distant future.

Fox shareholders are set to vote on the Disney bid on July 10.

Following reports last month that Comcast was lining up cash to attempt to woo Rupert Murdoch & Co. again, Disney CEO Bob Iger said, "We made a good deal, actually a deal that shareholders reacted quite favorably to and we're going to remain confident in our ability to close".

Shares of 21st Century Fox rose about 1.2% in after-hours trading immediately following the bid.

Trump spoke out against the deal when it was announced in October 2016. On that same day, then-candidate Donald Trump pledged that his administration would block the deal, saying "As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few". Comcast is making the offer even though Fox has not solicited it.

Much like at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War, the substantial, all-cash bid for the rights to intellectual properties owned by 21st Century Fox by Comcast is entering the endgame.

The Fox stable includes The Simpsons and the X-Men movie franchise.

AT&T says it plans to move forward with the deal in less than a week, leaving a small window of time for the justice department to file an appeal.

Comcast said it meant to pursue its $30 billion acquisition of Sky Plc (SKYB.L) in parallel with its Fox bid. But AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson remained at the company's headquarters in Dallas, and he learned of the ruling when AT&T general counsel David McAtee called him, a spokesperson said.

Murdoch, 87, also wasn't swayed by Comcast's overtures because the cable company didn't offer a breakup fee.

The two then had a long lunch in the Time Warner dining room in NY and agreed that their industries were under siege.

Image: Disney also wants to buy Fox.

Regulators there also have cleared Comcast's $30.7-billion U.S. offer for the 61 per cent of Sky that Murdoch doesn't own. In a statement, Fox said it would "carefully review" the "unsolicited" offer.

A spokesman for said that the definitive ruling in favor of its merger with AT&T was a confirmation that the case was politically motivated.



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