Department of Justice Appeals Approval of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

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The Department of Justice is appealing a federal judge’s approval of the $85.4 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner, according to multiple reports.

The DoJ filed its appeal in a District of Columbia court on Thursday afternoon. CNBC first reported the appeal.

Shares of AT&T dropped about 1.3 percent in after hours trading.

AT&T and Time Warner did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon approved the merger last month, and urged the DoJ not to push back on the ruling. Judge Leon said he wouldn’t grant the government a stay, preventing the companies from merging by June 21, and that he didn’t believe the government is likely to have success in an appeal.

The DoJ had argued the deal would curtail innovation and hurt competition if approved.

In his written opinion on the case, Judge Leon disagreed, saying: “The Government has failed to meet its burden to establish that the proposed transaction is likely to lessen competition substantially.

The merger had been held up in regulatory limbo since October 2016, when AT&T and Time Warner first agreed to join forces. The deal was skewered by President Trump as he wrapped up his campaign in 2016.

“As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said soon after the merger was initially announced.

More to come…

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