The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday declined to ask a judge to delay AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, clearing the way for the deal to close as early as this week.
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The latest development came in a joint filing two days after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon approved the $85 billion deal, rejecting the government’s argument that a combination of the telecom and media giants would harm consumers.
Leon, who allowed the deal to proceed without conditions, urged DOJ attorneys to avoid filing a stay, which would have delayed the deal’s completion while the government considered appealing the ruling.
A DOJ official said the government continues to evaluate its options regarding an appeal.
On Wednesday, FOX Business reported that DOJ officials felt Leon didn’t like the case and they would have been successful with another judge.
AT&T won the court’s approval for its deal to buy Time Warner on Tuesday, about 20 months after the telecom giant announced the agreement. In October 2016, the DOJ filed a lawsuit to block the deal, arguing that it would limit competition and hurt consumers through higher cable bills. President Trump also spoke out against the deal.
AT&T, the mobile carrier and broadband provider, also owns DirecTV. Through the Time Warner deal, AT&T will acquire film and TV businesses including the Warner Bros. studio and lucrative cable networks such as HBO.
AT&T has said it will close the transaction by June 20.