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AT&T completes $85 billion megamerger with Time Warner

The deal closes a day early after the government said it wouldn't seek a stay to freeze the deal.

AT&T To Acquire Bellsouth For $67 Billion

AT&T has completed its $85 billion merger with Time Warner.

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AT&T said Thursday it's completed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, a day earlier than previously expected.

The deal, which was expected to close Friday, cleared its final hurdle Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the government had failed to prove the combination of the two companies would harm consumers. The Department of Justice sued AT&T in October to block the deal, arguing the combined company would have too much power over competitors, ultimately leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

 "We're going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.

Earlier Thursday, the government said in a joint court filing that it wouldn't ask a judge for a stay that would freeze the deal while it decides whether to appeal.

The merger, which combines one of the largest communications network providers with a major player in the entertainment market, is poised to shake up the media world. It's already triggered the announcement of a possible deal between Comcast and Fox, which already has an agreement to sell its entertainment assets to Walt Disney.

The potential deals come at a time when traditional media and internet service providers see online giants like Google and Facebook as the key competitive threat.

CNET's Marguerite Reardon contributed to this report.