"While it does not open the door for other types of consolidation plays, deals in the media industry have occurred in waves, and we should expect more", Fresen said. It's already purchased satellite TV provider DirecTV for almost $49 billion. AT&T asked the court to focus on the former. The "drop dead" deadline for the merger to be completed is June 21.
"We think the evidence throughout the trial was quite clear and we're very pleased that the court saw it the same way", said Daniel Petrocelli, AT&T's lawyer.
AT&T and Time Warner together are some of the largest buyers of advertising around the globe, spending billions of dollars to market their products. In a statement, Delrahim said he was "disappointed" in the ruling but stopped short of saying his division would appeal, saying only that it would "consider next steps in light of our commitment to preserving competition". That is, deals where a company was buying its competitor, known in the legal jargon as a "horizontal merger". Other acquisitions on the table include Disney's offer to buy 21st Century Fox, drug store CVS's bid for Aetna and T-Mobile's potential merger with Sprint. If AT&T and Time Warner win, it will likely be full steam ahead.
The US had sued to block the deal, arguing that it would reduce competition in pay TV and lead to higher prices for consumers. With Time Warner's assets at its disposal, AT&T might be able to make that dream a reality. Time Warner's assets will help the telecommunications company keep up.
AT&T, for its part, insists that legacy media companies can't compete with the rising titans of Amazon and Netflix unless they're allowed to bring content creation and distribution under the same roof.
The merging companies will have to prove to antitrust authorities that the deal is good for consumers.
If AT&T is successful in its bid to buy Time Warner, it will nearly certainly find itself competing in a media market dominated by other large, integrated providers. Instead, he said the companies were frustrated that the resolution took 18 months, but were relieved that the fight was finally over.
"We knew we had to have scale", he said, according to Variety.
President Donald Trump, who has advocated for the blocking of the deal, has criticized CNN for its coverage of his election campaign and his administration. The Justice Department sued previous year to stop the merger. Sessions did not comply with the request.
The Justice Department sought AT&T to divest CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting or DirecTV, the big satellite-television operator, to gain Justice Department approvals for the deal. AT&T wasn't on board, saying, "Divestitures here would destroy the very consumer value this merger is created to unlock".
Updated 2:18 pm PT: This story was updated with comments from AT&T and the Justice Department.More news: Robbie Williams to open World Cup despite Party Like A Russian track