A federal judge has approved the $US85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.
Peter Dinklage and Conleth Hill in a scene from Game of Thrones.
US District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without imposing major conditions as some experts had expected.
The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $US85 billion merger, arguing it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.
Now, the phone and pay-TV giant AT&T will be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, "Game of Thrones," coveted sports programming and other "must see" shows.
The Justice Department could appeal the ruling, although it said only that it is considering its options.