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Judge in AT&T, Time Warner merger trial to deny data protection order

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12/21/2017 | 10:30pm CEST
FILE PHOTO - The AT&T logo is pictured during the Forbes Forum 2017 in Mexico City

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The judge overseeing the Justice Department's bid to stop AT&T (>> AT&T) from buying Time Warner (>> Time Warner) said Thursday that he would deny a request to tighten protections on confidential data.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The judge overseeing the Justice Department's bid to stop AT&T (>> AT&T) from buying Time Warner (>> Time Warner) said Thursday that he would deny a request to tighten protections on confidential data.

Walt Disney Co (>> Walt Disney Company (The)) and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (>> Twenty-First Century Fox) had requested that a protective order on sensitive information be strengthened for fear that their data would be inadvertently exposed in a trial next year.

"I'm going to deny the order," said Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Disney and Fox have given data to the Justice Department, which is using it to build a case against AT&T's bid to buy Time Warner. The companies say they fear that executives with AT&T, which owns satellite TV provider DirecTV, could inadvertently gain access to it during the trial.

Leon had given access to confidential information to the court, Justice Department lawyers and staff, service providers and AT&T and Time Warner's outside counsel.

The Justice Department sued in November to stop AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. wireless company, from buying Time Warner for $85 billion because of concerns that it could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers and hamper the development of online video.

A trial to decide the matter is set to begin on March 19, and run about 15 days, according to a court filing.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

By Diane Bartz

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AT&T -0.16% 31.71 Delayed Quote.-18.44%
TIME WARNER 0.00%-End-of-day quote.7.98%
TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX 0.45% 46.68 Delayed Quote.35.19%
WALT DISNEY COMPANY (THE) 0.35% 110.69 Delayed Quote.2.96%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 172 B
EBIT 2018 33 148 M
Net income 2018 19 545 M
Debt 2018 171 B
Yield 2018 6,31%
P/E ratio 2018 11,02
P/E ratio 2019 10,46
EV / Sales 2018 2,34x
EV / Sales 2019 2,12x
Capitalization 233 B
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 30
Average target price 36,9 $
Spread / Average Target 16%
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NameTitle
Randall L. Stephenson Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
John J. Stephens CFO, Principal Accounting Officer & Senior EVP
Joyce M. Roché Independent Director
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Matthew K. Rose Lead Independent Director
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