Judge Approves $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner Deal

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(CNN) — A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that AT&T can move forward with its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia said at a hearing that he has found, after a six-week trial, that the deal does not violate antitrust law and can proceed.

Leon discouraged the government from asking him to put his own ruling on hold pending appeal, and said that if asked he would deny a stay. “I hope the government has the wisdom and courage” not to seek a stay, he said.

Using unusually strong language, Leon said it would be “manifestly unjust” for the government to ask him to put his own ruling on hold, because if he were to do so, it could have the effect of killing the deal, which has a deadline for completion of June 21.

The Justice Department, which had sued to block the purchase, has the option of appealing the decision. According to a scheduling order, AT&T has agreed not to complete the acquisition for six days to allow time for an appeal.

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