By Mike Teich
If AT&T's $85 billion bid for Time Warner was allowed to proceed, it could lead to a new wave of media and telecom mergers, and smooth the way for deals like the Sprint-T-Mobile merger announced on Sunday, said Dan Primack, the business editor at Axios.
A federal judge heard arguments Monday over the potential impact of the AT&T-Time Warner deal on consumers. The Department of Justice sued to block the deal for fear it would give AT&T too much power. The wireless company argued there is plenty of competition from content companies such as Disney and new media powerhouses like Google and Netflix that would counterbalance its influence if it were to take over a content shop like Time Warner.
The lead lawyer for AT&T and Time Warner told Judge Richard J. Leon of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that blocking the merger would dampen competition, according to The New York Times. The judge is expected to rule in June.
Primack said in an interview Tuesday with Cheddar that AT&T doesn't need the deal to go through in order to survive, but it would enable the telecom company to challenge new media rivals.
If the acquisition was allowed, Primack said "we will see a run on mergers" in media and telecom. If the deal was quashed, he said there will be a "big freeze."
That could mean a halt ー for the third time ー to the merger of the third and fourth largest wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Sprint. Their $26 billion dollar deal must be approved by federal regulators.
For the full interview, click here.