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Having failed thus far to win over the Department of Justice, the $85 billion merger of AT&T and Time Warner will have to wait.
Since a termination date came and went on Sunday, both companies agreed in an SEC filing on Monday to extend their merger agreement “for a short period of time to facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval.”
While several observers assumed the deal would close in the first week of October, some also presumed the reason for the delay is that Makan Delrahim only took his spot as head of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division late last month.
The Wall Street Journal reported that it took more than six months for Delrahim to be confirmed at the post because Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren had questions about his fitness to lead the department because he has close to ties to several corporations.
Delrahim has already signaled that he sees no reason for the merger to be blocked.
While President Donald Trump and other lawmakers initially spoke against the merger when it was announced a year ago, there is evidence that some politicians were confusing Time Warner with Time Warner Cable.
In fact, so many pundits and lawmakers mistakenly referred to Time Warner as a provider of pay TV over cable that AT&T took the unusual step of filing a statement with the SEC reading: “Time Warner Inc. should not be confused with Time Warner Cable.”
Once the merger is complete, AT&T’s top entertainment executive, John Stankey, is expected to run Time Warner, giving him control of CNN, HBO, Turner Broadcasting and the Warner Bros. TV and film studio.
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