Merger of 2 Legal Publishers OKd: The Justice Department and seven states approved the $3.4-billion merger of two of North America’s largest legal publishers after the companies agreed to sell more than 50 publications worth more than $275 million. Toronto-based Thomson Corp. and West Publishing Co. of Eagan, Minn., reached the agreement with the department’s antitrust division and the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Washington and Wisconsin. Under the agreement, a lawsuit to block the deal and a proposed consent decree to settle the suit were filed simultaneously in U.S. District Court in Washington. Without the divestitures and several other measures in the agreement, the lawsuit said, the merged company would have reduced competition in dozens of markets nationwide where Thomson and West are the only publishers. It also said the deal would have reduced competition for online legal research services.