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Update: BellSouth/SBC confirm planned merger of wireless operations
Posted: 05-Apr-2000 [Source: Financial Times]

[Merger to result in a combination with over 24 million customers.]

By Richard Waters in New York -- BellSouth and SBC Communications confirmed on Wednesday the planned merger of their wireless operations, a move that will create the second biggest US wireless business in terms of subscriber numbers.

SBC will own 60 per cent of the new venture, while BellSouth will pick up the remaining 40 per cent. The wireless venture will have a combined revenue of $10.2bn. The two companies said they would be looking to divest some overlapping properties.

The transaction, which SBC and BellSouth expect to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of this year, requires the approval of the US Federal Communications Commission, the US Department of Justice and the European Union.

The deal marks the final stage in the rapid consolidation of the mobile operations of the Baby Bells and the emergence of a handful of national wireless companies in the US.

SBC, which merged with rival local carrier Ameritech earlier this year, has 11.2m wireless customers, while BellSouth, the only Bell company that has so far stood aside from the rash of mergers in the industry, has 5.3m.

The two companies will be the last remaining big regional operators to combine their mobile units to gain a national presence.

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