U.S. judge sets March trial for AT&T-Time Warner merger case

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The judge who will oversee the U.S. Justice Department's bid to stop wireless and pay TV company AT&T Corp from buying media company Time Warner Inc , on Thursday set March 19 as the trial date.

Judge Richard Leon at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia set the date in a pre-trial hearing. AT&T asked the court to hear the case beginning Feb. 20. The government was pressing for May 7.

AT&T and Time Warner announced their $85 billion deal in October 2016, and the Justice Department sued last month to block the it, arguing that the transaction could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers and hamper the development of online video.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by G Crosse)

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