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On Hunt for Content, AT&T Closes Deal for Chernin’s Otter Media

But the Chernin Group had a theory. “With every new wave of technology, great new brands emerge, and we wanted to own those brands,” Mr. Jacobs said. “They certainly weren’t going to be incubated inside the large media companies,” where they would have to compete for resources.The men focused on niches with hyper-passionate fan bases. “Fans willing to pay for video, buy merchandise, buy tickets to live events, engage with advertisers associated with the brand,” Mr. Jacobs said. About 100,000 people paid to attend Rooster Teeth fan conventions last year, for instance. Rooster Teeth-branded merchandise (hats, shirts, socks, beer mugs) generated millions of dollars in sales.Not every…

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Judge in AT&T Case Ignored ‘Economics and Common Sense,’ Government Says

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday laid out its case against a federal court’s approval of the AT&T and Time Warner merger, criticizing a judge for “erroneously ignoring fundamental principles of economics and common sense.”The argument, made to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is the start of the government’s second attempt to stop the $85.4 billion deal. The Justice Department lost its case in June, and AT&T and Time Warner, the owner of CNN and HBO, have since hurried to stich their operations together.Legal experts say the government faces high hurdles to win its appeal. If it does, the companies…

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AT&T-Time Warner Deal Approval Gets Justice Department Challenge

The Justice Department had considered filing an injunction to stop the deal from closing after the judge, Richard J. Leon of United States District Court in Washington, approved it on June 12. But it did not go ahead with the motion because AT&T said the media arm would be operated as a separate group, making it easier to unwind the business should the Justice Department succeed in an appeal.The latest legal maneuvering will not immediately change the business. But if the Justice Department ultimately prevails in its appeal, AT&T would have to detach the Time Warner business, now renamed Warner Media.The government’s approach to the AT&T-Time Warner…

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HBO Must Get Bigger and Broader, Says Its New Overseer

The California-born Mr. Stankey, who lives in Texas and has donated to a number of Republican campaigns, cuts a lower profile. He started his telecommunications career at Pacific Bell in 1985 and has served in various roles at AT&T, including chief technology officer and head of the company’s DirecTV unit. On the stage of the HBO Theater, he described himself as a “Bell-head,” a term that was probably lost on the people in the seats.During the talk, Mr. Plepler seemed willing to make changes. “I’ve said, ‘More is not better, only better is better,’ because that was the hand we had,” he said, as Mr. Stankey looked…

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Largest Cellphone Carriers to Limit Sales of Location Data

The nation’s top cellphone carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint — all said Tuesday that they would sharply limit arrangements that give marketers and other businesses access to cellphone customers’ location data, after disclosures that the information was used to track people without their consent.Verizon announced its change in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, who has been investigating location privacy issues. He had asked Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to audit their relationships with companies that buy and sell access to consumer location data, known as location aggregators.“As a result of this review, we are initiating a process to terminate our existing…

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AT&T Closes Acquisition of Time Warner

AT&T announced it had completed its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner on Thursday, shortly after the Justice Department said it would not seek an injunction to stop the deal.The merger gives AT&T a vast media and entertainment portfolio belonging to Time Warner, including HBO and CNN, rights to major sports leagues and valuable film franchises such as “Harry Potter.”“We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers,” Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.The Justice Department had six days to seek an injunction after a federal judge approved…

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AT&T Wins Approval for $85.4 Billion Time Warner Deal in Defeat for Justice Dept.

“We always believed that the motivations for bringing this case were questionable at best,” Gary Ginsberg, an executive vice president for Time Warner, said on Tuesday. “The court’s verdict resoundingly supported that view.”Mr. Delrahim had argued that the only way antitrust concerns could be resolved was through the sale of major businesses. Last fall, he presented AT&T and Time Warner with two options: Sell the majority stake in either DirecTV, which is AT&T’s satellite television company, or Turner Broadcasting. The companies rejected both options.Mr. Delrahim’s position, which the White House said it supported, also had the backing of some left-leaning politicians and antitrust experts. They have been…

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Big Day for AT&T, Time Warner and U.S. as Court Rules in Antitrust Case

What are the possible outcomes?Judge Leon could block the deal.Doing so might encourage the Justice Department to act more aggressively when it looks at deals in the future, and might prompt a rethink by companies with similar deals in the works.A key argument against the government’s case is that the deal is a so-called vertical merger, which means that the two companies do not produce competing products: One makes media content, and the other distributes it. Some big takeovers lately have had similar profiles — the purchase of the insurer Aetna by the drugstore chain CVS, and Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods — and they typically make…

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AT&T Has Had Many Run-Ins With the Government

AT&T, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, figures prominently in the annals of antitrust law.Since the late 19th century, under various names and configurations, the entity once known as Ma Bell has often been targeted by regulators trying to rein in its size and keep it from amassing monopoly power.On Tuesday afternoon, a federal judge is expected to issue a ruling in AT&T’s latest battle with the Justice Department, which is attempting to block the company’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner. The current courtroom battle is a reminder of the complicated balancing act the government must strike in regulating ever-changing companies.“AT&T has been a dominant…

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Deal Makers Brace for Ruling in AT&T-Time Warner Case

If the Deal Is BlockedA victory for the Justice Department could encourage the department to act more aggressively on similar deals.Makan Delrahim, the antitrust chief at the Justice Department, has been adamant that competitive concerns in mergers cannot be resolved through promises to hold back on certain anticompetitive practices. Those requirements, called behavioral remedies, are common in vertical mergers. Comcast’s merger with NBCUniversal in 2011, for example, was granted with more than 100 conditions, such as a requirement that the combined company give competitors access to its programming.Instead, Mr. Delrahim has said the best way to resolve antitrust problems is to sell off assets. The department offered…

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