Last fall, AT&T said it was going to buy Time Warner for $86 billion, and gave itself a year to get the mega-deal done.
Turns out that deadline came and went on Sunday. And AT&T still doesn’t own Time Warner.
No problem, say AT&T and Time Warner: The companies say they’re extending their deadline “for a short period of time to facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval required to close the merger.”
That is: They’re still looking for final approval from the U.S. Department of Justice — along with any instruction from the feds about what they’ll have to do to get the deal done.
If you want, you could read into the fact that the deal hasn’t gotten a government sign-off yet. But you could also simply note that Makan Delrahim, the man in charge of antitrust regulation for Justice, only just started on the job a few weeks ago. So it would be hard to get sign-off until he’s settled in.
Meanwhile, despite occasional speculation about roadblocks to the deal — Steve Bannon reportedly wanted to scuttle it because Time Warner owns CNN; HBO competitors have complained that they’ll be disadvantaged once a giant distributor owns the pay TV service — executives at both Time Warner and AT&T have been treating it like a done deal for some time.
And I keep hearing about Time Warner executives who have already boxed up their stuff, anticipating that their services won’t be needed soon.
One thing I still don’t hear much about: An explanation of how things will change at Time Warner once it’s part of AT&T. Or put another way, what can AT&T get out of Time Warner that it couldn’t do when it didn’t own Time Warner?
Related: In February, I’m going to pose those questions to Time Warner’s boss-to-be John Stankey, who’s overseeing the deal for AT&T. You can join us for that conversation at Code Media in Huntington Beach, Calif.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.