The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it would appeal a federal judge’s approval of AT&T Inc’s (T.N) $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, raising the prospect barely a month after the deal closed that it could be undone.
AT&T was sued by the Justice Department on antitrust grounds, saying that the deal would harm consumers, but U.S. District Judge Richard Leon last month approved the deal, allowing it to move forward following a lengthy trial. The merger, first announced in October 2016, was also opposed by President Donald Trump.
Leon ruled that the tie-up between AT&T’s wireless and satellite businesses with Time Warner’s movies and television shows was legal under antitrust law.
AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told reporters on Thursday at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, that the company was not surprised about the Justice Department’s decision to appeal.
“They have the right to appeal. Everyone has the right to appeal. We have a very fact-based thoughtful order. It will be evaluated on those grounds,” he said.