For months AT&T efforts to merge with Time Warner have been held up by the Department of Justice efforts to block the merger. Now the judge overseeing the case has ruled that AT&T can merge with Time Warner. The Judge has put no conditions on the merger.
After that ruling was announced AT&T released this statement:
“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. We thank the Court for its thorough and timely examination of the evidence, and we compliment our colleagues at the Department of Justice on their dedicated representation of the government. We look forward to closing the merger on or before June 20 so we can begin to give consumers video entertainment that is more affordable, mobile, and innovative.” Said David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel.
The court’s approval to merge with Time Warner clears the way for AT&T to launch their new $15 AT&T Watch streaming service. (Assuming there is no successful appeal.) This new service will be priced at $15/month and be a sports free version of DIRECTV NOW. According to Mr. Stephenson, the service drops sports programming and will focus on other channels similar to how Philo works. The hope is the service will appeal to a more budget-conscious streaming audience. It is also being reported by Variety that AT&T Watch will be offered to AT&T Wireless customers for free.
Originally it was said that AT&T had planned to launch AT&T Watch no matter what happens with the current Time Warner DOJ court case. Now AT&T’s CEO says they only plan to launch the service if they are able to merge with Time Warner.
AT&T made it clear recently that this new service would only go forward if they court approved their merger. “AT&T Watch would be a very low end, very thin collection of products, and I think this one will be based on getting the Time Warner deal done,” AT&T’s CEO John Stephens said.
Earlier this year it was reported that AT&T Watch could launch in just a few weeks. Now that the merger has been approved look for the service to roll out this year.
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