Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said at a hearing that he has found, after a six-week trial, that the deal does not violate antitrust law and can proceed.
Leon discouraged the government from asking him to put his own ruling on hold pending appeal, and said that if asked he would deny a stay. “I hope the government has the wisdom and courage” not to seek a stay, he said.
The Justice Department, which had sued to block the purchase, has the option of appealing the decision. According to a scheduling order, AT&T has agreed not to complete the acquisition for six days to allow time for an appeal.
The judge’s ruling will likely be seen by tech and telecom giants as a green light to pursue a slew of major media acquisitions.
CNN is owned by Time Warner.