A rejection might have chilled possible multibillion-dollar deals involving other media companies.
However, in Verizon's most recent quarterly earnings call, executives said they would rather sit out the current consolidation, and instead build out its content offerings through partnerships with independent media companies.
Disney's $52.4 bid for major pieces of 21st Century Fox is pending a vote by Fox shareholders.
Shares of both T-Mobile and Sprint rose; their proposed combination is pending.
Judge Leon delivered his opinion in a closed courtroom packed with reporters and telecom industry-watchers.
"We are pleased that, after conducting a full and fair trial on the merits, the Court has categorically rejected the government's lawsuit to block our merger with Time Warner", said David McAtee, AT&T General Counsel.
AT&T argued that the merger will help customers without harming AT&T's business rivals, and that the combined company wouldn't have enough market power to raise antitrust concerns. If not completed by then, either company could walk away, and AT&T would have to pay a $500 million breakup fee.
AT&T Wins in Court to Merge With Time Warner
Rival cable company Comcast is now likely to go ahead with its planned attempt to woo Twenty-First Century Fox Inc away from Walt Disney Co, which said it would acquire most assets of the media company for around $50 billion a year ago.
In seeking to unify, the two companies argued that a new crop of competitors cast an ominous shadow over their businesses: Netflix, Amazon and Apple in content and distribution; Google and Facebook in advertising. The Walt Disney Company is also looking to make an offer on the company. Comcast has promised to top that.
The AT&T-Time Warner antitrust trial finally has a ruling after the trial ended last month.
"Judge OKs AT&T merger with Time Warner, rejecting government argument it would hurt pay-TV consumers, competition". However, now that the AT&T deal has been approved by a federal judge, there is precedent for such a deal and Comcast believes it won't be blocked. The ruling blesses the $85 billion merger, one of the biggest media deals ever.
Now, the phone and pay-TV giant will be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, "Game of Thrones", coveted sports programming and other "must-see" shows.
AT&T says it plans to move forward with the deal in less than a week, leaving a small window of time for the justice department to file an appeal. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fate of the AT&T-Time Warner merger, a massive media deal opposed by the government that could shape how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies, rests in the hands of a federal judge.
"We would lose a lot of subs", Schlichting said, during an hour and a half of testimonies at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.