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Government grills AT&T CEO about $85 billion merger

Randall Stephenson in front of a blue backdrop
AT&T Randall Stephenson has a lot riding on the Time Warner deal. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, under tough questioning from a Justice Department lawyer Thursday afternoon, insisted he needs to complete his proposed $85 billion purchase of content creator Time Warner to compete with Silicon Valley.

Why it matters: The trial over the Justice Department’s challenge to the merger boils down to whether you believe Stephenson, who claims that AT&T just wants to compete with Silicon Valley, or the government, which says he wants to use Time Warner as a weapon against AT&T’s current competitors.