AT&T, Time Warner extend deadline to finalize merger

AT&T, Time Warner extend deadline to finalize merger
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AT&T and Time Warner are extending the termination date of their merger to April 22, 2018, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, now that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing to block their deal.

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Despite the DOJ’s move to stop the merger, both companies are hopeful they’ll still be able to complete the $85 billion deal if they beat the agency’s lawsuit.

“AT&T intends to vigorously contest the DOJ’s allegations and is confident that the Court will reject the DOJ’s challenge to the merger,” the company wrote in its SEC filing.

Last week, in a surprising decision, the Justice Department moved to block AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner.

The merger would combine an entertainment powerhouse that includes HBO and CNN with a telecom giant. Such mergers across industries have generally been approved.

This time, regulators are opposing the deal on the grounds that it could harm AT&T’s “rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for Time Warner’s networks, and it would use its increased power to slow the industry’s transition to new and exciting video distribution models that provide greater choice for consumers.”

Adding to the controversy, the DOJ and AT&T have publicly clashed over whether or not regulators offered to approve the merger if AT&T divested Time Warner's CNN.

The news channel’s involvement in the dispute has raised questions about whether the White House has intervened in the merger review.

President Trump has been a sharp critic of CNN, labeling it fake news and accusing it of being biased against his administration.

The Justice Department and the White House have both denied any political interference in the merger review.