An indignant Department of Justice told a federal judge Dec. 14 that the rationale for approving two telecommunications megamergers was not concocted from unfounded assumptions, as opponents of the deals suggested in court.

SBC Communications Inc.’s takeover of AT&T Corp. to form AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.’s merger with MCI Inc. have been consummated, but final federal approvals remain mired in a protracted court hearing before a federal district court judge in Washington, D.C. Both transactions must be approved by a federal judge because the DOJ’s antitrust division found that both posed threats to competition and negotiated settlements with the companies to address them.