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Sunday, March 05, 2006

AT&T Buying BellSouth For $67 billion

AT&T said Sunday it will acquire fellow phone company BellSouth in a stock deal worth $67 billion, creating a telecommunications giant that dwarfs its nearest competitor Verizon Communications.

AT&T became the largest phone company in the United States after local phone company SBC Communications acquired long-distance carrier AT&T last year for $16 billion. The company, which changed its name after the acquisition was completed, serves 13 states, mostly throughout the western and southwestern parts of the country.

Combined with BellSouth, the third largest local phone company in the country, AT&T will pick up another nine states in the southeast to provide service in a total of 22 states. The combined company would generate about $130 billion in sales and serve nearly 70 million local phone customers.

In addition, AT&T will take full control of Cingular Wireless, a joint venture owned by AT&T and BellSouth. AT&T already owns 60 percent of Cingular, which is considered the largest cellular phone company in the U.S., providing service to more than 54 million subscribers in the United States.

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