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Justice Department appeals approval of Time Warner-AT&T merger

David Lumb
Just when we thought the AT&T--Time Warner merger was finally a done deal

Just when we thought the AT&T--Time Warner merger was finally a done deal after a district court judge ruled in its favor last month, it seems not everyone wants to accept its terms. The Justice Department has filed to appeal the approval, according to a court document spotted by CNBC, which could reverse it if the DOJ wins.

AT&T announced an $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner back in 2016, which the Justice Department rebutted with an antitrust lawsuit last November. When that wrapped up in the beginning of May, the DOJ proposed solutions to ensure the merger wouldn't fall afoul of anti-competitive law: Either get rid of DirecTV or Turner (which contains TNT, TBS and CNN).

But exactly a month ago, a district court judge decided that the government hadn't established that the deal would significantly decrease competition. He ruled in favor of the acquisition reportedly without conditions. The resulting AT&T-Time Warner megacompany retained ownership of Warner Bros., HBO and Turner.

Shortly after the merger, AT&T wasted no time hiking user fees to pay for it. The company's CEO assured that they'd take a hands-off approach with HBO, but in a recent closed town hall meeting, he suggested aggressive increases in the premium network's content output.

CNBC