The court battle continues between AT&T and the Justice Department over antitrust concerns with the $85 billion Time Warner acquisition, and it could be causing some executives to second-guess the deal.
According to Vanity Fair, some Time Warner executives are beginning to wonder: Should the court proceedings extend past the merger deadline, would Time Warner benefit from being able to walk away and possibly get a better offer?
The merger deadline is currently set for June 21, 2018. That’s the second extension the companies have put in place; the first deadline was moved from Oct. 22, 2017, to April 22, 2018.
As the report pointed out, passing the merger deadline could give Time Warner a chance to renegotiate merger terms, which are currently based on Time Warner’s value from mid-2016. Time Warner could also sell itself off in pieces if it decides to not move forward with a revised AT&T deal after the deadline.
“It used to be, well, the devil you know. And now it’s kind of like, you know, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to see who else is out there. The one thing people pretty much know is, if it happens, we’ll have a whole new world under AT&T. If it doesn’t happen, we’ll probably not be a standalone company for very long,” a person familiar with the matter told the publication.
For now, the only reality for AT&T is the current DOJ trial, which began on March 19. Presiding Judge Richard Leon said that the trial may six to eight weeks.
That’s significantly longer than previous estimates, which put the trial length at about two weeks and tacked on another two to three weeks for the Judge to render his decision. But a six- to eight-week time frame could still fit within the current merger deadline.