EC approves AT&T's $85bn Time Warner deal

European regulators have given the thumbs-up to AT&T’s proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner, leaving American regulators to rubber stamp the deal.

The European Commission gave the nod to the deal, which was first announced in October and will see the US operator buy all of the media empire’s assets, which include Warner Brothers film studios and the cable TV channels including HBO, the Cartoon Network and CNN.

The EC said that while AT&T does offer both telecoms and media services, it only offers the former in European markets, so there is no reason to block the deal.

The deal is expected to close by the end of this year, if it is given approval by an antitrust review to be carried out by the Justice Department.

The Federal Communications Commission has already declined to investigate the deal, a decision that led US senators to question chairman Ajit Pai. This followed by a decision that will see Time Warner sell its 

“We appreciate the skilled work of the European Commission’s team for their timely effort to analyse and clear the AT&T-Time Warner merger,” said Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president, AT&T external and legislative affairs. 

“This is an important approval from a highly respected authority. The global clearance process is on track, and we look forward to creating a company that will lead the next wave of innovation in the media and telecommunications industries.”