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The Justice Department will let the AT&T–Time Warner merger close

The Justice Department will let the AT&T–Time Warner merger close

The Justice Department announced today that it will not seek a legal stay of the AT&T–Time Warner merger ruling, clearing the way for the completion of the giant deal.

In a sharp rebuke to antitrust enforcers, a judge ruled this week that he would allow the deal to go through despite the Justice Department’s lawsuit. In his decision, the judge suggested that an appeal would be futile and that granting a temporary legal stay of the ruling could unfairly scuttle the deal. With a deadline for the deal looming later this month, he wrote that using a stay to block the deal would be “unjust.”

A Justice Department spokesperson said that although the agency could still appeal the judge’s ruling, it would not seek a stay in the meantime. In a filing, AT&T’s general counsel writes that the merger could now be completed as soon as “later this week.”

The AT&T–Time Warner deal, first announced in October 2016, will alter the media world by bringing together content-makers, like HBO and Warner Bros, with AT&T’s millions of paid TV subscribers. The trial was closely watched as a test case for similar mergers, and soon after the judge’s decision was announced, Comcast announced a $65 billion bid for 21st Century Fox.