Other media stocks that saw big price moves after the judge's ruling was announced included 21 Century Fox (FOX), whose shares were up almost 5 percent on speculation it could be the subject of a bidding war between Disney (DIS), which already has a $52 billion all-stock deal for Fox on the table, and a media giant like Comcast (CMCSA), which in recent weeks has been hinting of its intention to make an even larger all-cash bid for Fox.
Fox shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Disney deal on July 10, unless Murdoch and the board decide to support Comcast's bid. Comcast, the giant cable operator, on Wednesday officially made a $65 billion all-cash bid for the majority of Fox.
"We continue to believe that Disney has the superior balance sheet, cost of debt, equity and rationale to emerge victorious over Comcast in a bidding war".
The bid for Twenty-First Century Fox includes the group's movie studio, all of Fox's televison networks, and the company's stakes in Hulu, Sky and Star TV.
AT&T, a content distributor, first announced a deal in October 2016 that would let it acquire Time Warner, a content creator that counts HBO, Warner Bros. and cable network giant Turner Broadcasting among its biggest assets. The business decision was reportedly spurred by the recent favorable AT&T - Time Warner merger ruling.
That's 19 percent more than the $52.4 billion that Disney agreed to pay in December. Disney also is interested in owning Sky.More news: Fallout 76 trailer reveals it is Four Times Bigger than Fallout 4
When the FCC repealed net neutrality past year, its chairman, Ajit Pai, argued that companies such as Comcast weren't investing in broadband deployment because of uncertainty caused by regulations.
Why this matters: Although the ruling is a huge setback for the DoJ, its almost two-year legal battle to try and block the Time Warner deal is a sign it's determined to challenge massive mergers. Fox's film and studio content was expected to serve as key components of Disney's upcoming branded streaming service, which is set for release in 2019.
Comcast said its proposal is "at least as favourable" to shareholders as Disney's plan.
Fox would also give up its stake in the European broadcaster Sky, which would help either Comcast or Disney expand its footprint overseas. Some suspected, however, that the real motivation behind the DOJ's case may be personal and political agenda of Donald Trump himself: He sees CNN as his political nemesis, and CNN is owned by Time Warner. We have reviewed the publicly available terms of the proposed Disney transaction, as well as the joint proxy statement/prospectus filed with the SEC describing the reasons for the 21CF Board of Directors' decision.
Comcast said it is confident it will win regulatory approval and that its new offer "fully addresses" the stated concerns.
If things don't work out for Comcast, however, I am available for outright purchase should they need and will happily accept cash offers of that magnitude.