AT&T's $85.4 billion deal for Time Warner wins EU approval

An AT&T sign is seen outside a branch in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, US, October 24, 2016. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Bengaluru, Karnataka, India Mar 15, 2017, 02.12 PM (IST)

AT&T Inc has won approval from the European Commission for its planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc, the number two US wireless carrier said on Wednesday.

The merger was widely expected to be cleared in Europe but still requires approval from the US Department of Justice. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, AT&T said.

During his election campaign, US President Donald Trump had said that he opposed the merger, and in January, a transition official told Reuters that Trump was still against the deal.

The US Federal Communications Commission does not expect to review the deal, a spokesman for the agency said last month.

The Justice Department, which is reviewing documents submitted on the proposed merger, has to prove a proposed deal harms competition in order to block it.

"I think what everybody is waiting for is (to see) whoever will become head of the anti-trust division of the Department of Justice," said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.

AT&T shares rose 0.3 per cent to $42.21 in morning trading.