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AT&T pushes ahead with entertainment growth, while it waits for Time Warner decision

As Dallas-based ATT awaits a court decision that will shape its future, the company has pushed ahead with new offerings and reached 1.5 million customers with its streaming service DirecTV Now.

The Dallas-based telecom released the latest subscriber count in a Wednesday earnings call during an especially high-stakes time in the company’s history. ATT is wrapping up an antitrust court battle with the Justice Department over its bid to buy Time Warner in deal that’s valued at nearly $109 billion, including debt. It also faces new scrutiny from the Justice Department, which is investigating whether ATT and rival Verizon colluded to make it harder for customers to switch carriers.

If the merger is approved, ATT — the largest pay-TV company in the country — would become the owner of Time Warner’s valuable TV and movie content, including CNN, HBO and Warner Bros. ATT executives say the content would allow them to better compete with new players like Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV. The Justice Department, on the other hand, has argued the merger would drive up programming prices for competitors and increase costs for consumers.

The trial, which began in mid-March, is wrapping up in Washington, D.C. Its outcome is in the hands of Judge Richard Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Leon said it could take him about a month to write the opinion, which he estimated will be about 200 pages.

ATT and Time Warner’s deadline for the merger is June 21. If the agreement expires, either company could walk away from the deal and Time Warner would be owed a $500 million breakup fee from ATT.

DirecTV Now has helped to offset the decline of ATT’s traditional TV business. It lost 187,000 cable and satellite customers, but gained 312,000 DirecTV Now customers in the first quarter. The streaming service has a cable-like lineup of channels,

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