The antitrust lawsuit of the US Department of Justice. UU To block AT & T Inc. bought Time Warner Inc. will go to trial on March 19, which will make it impossible for companies to close the deal on their self-imposed deadline.
Judge Richard Leon said Thursday that companies should extend their April 22 deadline by 60 to 90 days to give him more time to make a decision.
According to their current agreement, if AT & T and Time Warner do not complete their deal by April 22, they may choose to extend the deadline or either party may leave. If the judge blocks the deal, AT & T must pay Time Warner a $ 500 million severance fee.
An AT & T spokesperson did not comment immediately.
The Department of Justice sued to block the acquisition of AT & T of $ 85.4 billion. Time Warner said on November 20 that the merger would harm US consumers and would mean higher TV bills and fewer options for innovative entertainment.
The legal challenge – the first major antitrust action filed by the Trump administration – struck a deal that seemed to be moving toward approval as recently as October.
Makan Delrahim, the new head of the antitrust division under the Trump administration, had pushed for the sale of Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting division, which owns cable channels such as CNN, TNT and Turner Sports, or DirecTV, the provider AT & T satellite bought in 2015.
AT & T CEO Randall Stephenson said he was not willing to sell CNN to appease Washington and promised to fight the lawsuit, preparing both sides for a battle judicial that will probably extend several months until next year.
To read about the lawyers who are facing the courtroom, click here
AT & T requested a trial date on February 20, while the attorneys at the government responded on May 7.
– With the assistance of Scott Moritz