Of all the companies awaiting Judge Richard Leon's ruling Tuesday on the government's lawsuit to block AT&T Inc.'s (T) purchase of Time Warner Inc. (TWX) , Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) is particularly eager.
Outright approval of the deal without conditions would be a green light for Comcast to start a bidding war with Walt Disney Co. (DIS) for the coveted film, television and pay-TV assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) .
But Leon's ruling may not send such a clear signal to Comcast and others, according to Y. David Scharf, a lawyer with Morrison Cohen LLP. Rather than outright rejection or approval, he suggests, the judge is more likely to consider imposing conditions that would provide consumer protections but allow the deal to close.
"The least impactful (ruling) on the M&A environment would be one where Judge Leon writes a script: Here are the dangers and here is what you're not going to be allowed to do to protect the consumer," Scharf said.
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