WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Tuesday urged a federal judge to reject the February court date sought by AT&T <T.N> and Time Warner <TWX.N> in a dispute over the firms' proposed merger, arguing the companies are rushing to meet an April 22 closing deadline for their $85.4 billion deal.
The U.S. Justice Department last month sued to block AT&T's planned acquisition of Time Warner, saying the combination could raise prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers while hampering the development of online video.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson had called the companies' requested court date of Feb. 20 a "reasonable ask." The government had requested that proceedings start on May 7.
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AT&T will have to pay Time Warner $500 million if the merger is not consummated by April 22.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Christopher Cushing)