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CNN.com: AT&T reaches deal to buy BellSouth


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" AT&T reaches deal to buy BellSouth

Nation's largest phone company spends $67 billion for rival

Sunday, March 5, 2006; Posted: 3:29 p.m. EST (20:29 GMT)

NEW YORK (AP) -- AT&T Inc. said Sunday it will acquire smaller rival BellSouth Corp. for $67 billion in stock, in a deal that goes a long way toward resurrecting the old Ma Bell telephone system.

The deal would substantially expand the reach of AT&T, already the country's largest telecommunications company by the number of customers served.

AT&T will pay 1.325 of its own shares for each BellSouth share. Based of Friday's closing price of $27.99 for AT&T shares, that works out to be $37.09 for each BellSouth share, an 18 percent premium from the Friday closing price of $31.46 for the Atlanta, Georgia-based company.

AT&T was formed by San Antonio, Texas-based SBC's acquisition of AT&T Corp. in November. The deal added a substantial national reach to the former Southwestern Bell's local business, which is concentrated in 13 states, including Texas, California, and the Midwest.

BellSouth is the dominant local telephone provider in nine Southeastern states.

The merged company would have 70 million local-line phone customers and nearly 10 million broadband subscribers.

AT&T expects the acquisition to save it $2 billion annually, starting the year after the deal closes. About half of the savings would come from combining the work forces and from reducing advertising expenses.

The rest of the savings would come from combining the backbone network and information-technology operations of the two companies.

In wireless, AT&T and BellSouth are already partners, jointly owning the nation's largest carrier, Cingular Wireless LLC.

That business has grown strongly since it was formed in 2001 by the merger of a number of regional wireless carriers, and there has been speculation that AT&T wanted to assume full control of this growth business.

BellSouth's price for its Cingular stake may have been an outright sale of the whole company.

Under the deal, the Cingular brand will be phased out in favor of the AT&T brand. The name will be familiar to wireless customers: AT&T Wireless Inc., a spin-off of AT&T, was acquired by Cingular in October 2004.

Together, the companies employ more than 253,000 people, which does not include Cingular's work force."


Holy Cow -- Ed Whitacre (SBC/AT&T's CEO) is really making a push to get the "band" back together.

He (Southwestern Bell) bought PacBell out west in 1997, then Ameritech in the Midwest (2000), and SNET (Conneticut) in the East -- and became SBC.

Formed a wireless venture with Bell South in 2001 to form Cingular Wireless.

Bought AT&T Wireless last year.

Bought AT&T this year (and then proceded to take on the name of AT&T).

And now he's going to buy Bell South.

Pretty soon there'll be just AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest left in the American telecom scene.

Pretty amazing.

I don't know if it's a good thing, or a bad thing for the consumer -- but it's certainly SOMEthing :)

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