The deal, which was expected to close Friday, cleared its final hurdle Tuesday when athat the government had failed to prove the combination of the two companies would harm consumers. 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 itthat 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, 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.