(Reuters) - AT&T Inc (>> AT&T) is ready to litigate if the U.S. Department of Justice blocks its $85.4 billion Time Warner Inc (>> Time Warner) deal, Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said on Thursday.
"If we are going to go for litigation our preference would be sooner is better. We are prepared to litigate now," Stephenson told CNBC on the sidelines of the New York Times Dealbook conference.
"We have been working very diligently on a litigation strategy and a litigation plan," he said, adding: "We would obviously ask for an expedited hearing. We feel that a transaction of this size you would likely get an expedited hearing."
The U.S. Department of Justice has demanded significant asset sales in order to approve the deal, sources told Reuters on Wednesday, and asked AT&T to sell CNN-parent Turner Broadcasting or its DirecTV satellite TV operation in discussions on Monday.
(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)