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  1.    #1  
    Looks like it's more or less official now?,4149,1448758,00.asp
    Last edited by aolumide; 01/22/2004 at 03:10 PM.
    -- "In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" --
  2. #2  
    Not so fast. It is only an offer. From reading the WSJ I understand that NIT DoCoMo, the Japanese Giant, is interested in this process as well (they do, after all, own 17% of AT&T Wireless); Nextel is also interested in AT&T Wireless and so is the British Vodafone Company. Stay tuned.

    Read on...
    Last edited by m00se; 01/23/2004 at 08:48 AM.
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    -Mark Twain
  3. #3  
    Bloomberg is reporting that SBC and BellSouth are preparing to outbid VodaPhone for AT&T Wireless
  4. Exciter's Avatar
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    Cingular Parents May Outbid Vodafone on AT&T Wireless

    Cingular Parents May Outbid Vodafone on AT&T Wireless

    Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. were preparing to raise their $30 billion, or $11 a share, offer for AT&T Wireless Services Inc. to counter an expected higher bid from Vodafone Group Plc, people familiar with the situation said.

    AT&T Wireless, the third-biggest U.S. mobile-phone company, had set a 5 p.m. deadline for bids. Vodafone may offer $12.50 a share for the Redmond, Washington-based company, the Wall Street Journal reported, without saying where it got the information.

    Regional phone companies SBC and BellSouth, trying to compensate for their shrinking local-calling businesses, want to merge AT&T Wireless with their Cingular Wireless LLC venture to form the No. 1 U.S. mobile-phone operator. Vodafone is seeking more customers and revenue in the $80 billion-a-year U.S. wireless market.

    ``BellSouth and SBC are still facing line losses in their main businesses and look to wireless for growth,'' said Michael Mahoney, who helps manage $600 million at San Francisco-based EGM Capital LLC, which holds shares of Vodafone and AT&T Wireless. ``Now they have big, bad Vodafone trying to take share and aiming squarely at them.''

    Directors of AT&T Wireless are scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss any offers, people familiar with the matter have said. The company has told bidders it will make a final decision by the end of the month, the people said.

    Possible Bidding War

    Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc., the world's second-biggest wireless carrier and AT&T Wireless's largest shareholder, and Nextel Communications Inc., the No. 5 U.S. mobile-phone company, have also expressed interest in AT&T Wireless.

    NTT DoCoMo decided at a board meeting Friday not to make a bid, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Saturday morning edition. NTT DoCoMo's Chief Financial Officer Masayuki Hirata declined to comment to Bloomberg News about the company's intentions. DoCoMo's 16 percent stake in AT&T Wireless is worth as much as $5.4 billion.

    Cingular's parents and Vodafone have the most to gain from an acquisition and are the likeliest candidates for a bidding war, said analysts including Paul Wright of Boston-based Loomis Sayles & Co., which holds 2.3 million SBC shares and 1.4 million BellSouth shares. SBC, which owns 60 percent of Cingular, and BellSouth, owner of the rest, could justify $13 a share, he said.

    Shares Near $12

    Vodafone spokesman Ben Padovan declined to comment, as did SBC spokesman Larry Solomon and BellSouth spokesman Jeff Battcher. Nextel spokeswoman Audrey Schaefer also declined to comment.

    AT&T Wireless shares rose 15 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $11.82 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They had climbed 3.7 percent the two previous days amid expectations suitors would have to offer more than $11 a share.

    Shares of San Antonio-based SBC fell 59 cents to $25.05. They have fallen 3.9 percent this year. Atlanta-based BellSouth slipped 54 cents to $29.55. They have increased 4.4 percent this year.

    Vodafone stock gained 3.75 pence, or 2.8 percent, to 136 pence in London trading. The shares had fallen about 10 percent since Jan. 14, the day people familiar with the situation said the company might bid for AT&T Wireless.

    Cost Savings

    AT&T Wireless is looking for a buyer after posting the slowest quarterly sales gain since it was spun off from AT&T Corp. in 2001.

    A combination of Cingular and AT&T Wireless would create a company with 46 million customers compared with Verizon Wireless's 37.5 million. It also would remove a competitor from the U.S. mobile-phone market, reducing the need to give away minutes or slash prices on phones to woo customers, analysts have said.

    SBC and BellSouth could save as much as $1.2 billion a year by reducing capital spending and other expenses at the enlarged company, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. analyst Blake Bath said in a research note.

    BellSouth, SBC and Cingular could finance the acquisition using their combined $10.5 billion in cash as well as AT&T Wireless's $4.3 billion in cash at year's end.

    Additional funding could also come from the $8.2 billion that the four companies are expected to generate this year in free cash flow, which is cash from operations that's left over after spending on equipment, Merrill Lynch analysts said in a recent research note. SBC and BellSouth also may need to issue more than $6 billion in debt, Merrill said.


    Vodafone could use ownership of AT&T Wireless to establish its brand in the U.S. and develop services across a wider region. Vodafone has introduced its Vodafone Live! service, which offers picture messaging and mobile Internet access, in 15 countries across Europe to boost spending among customers.

    To clinch a purchase, Vodafone needs to reach an agreement to sell its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone operator, to Verizon Communications Inc.

    ``The main issue is how does Vodafone move on,'' said Mike Seymour, a money manager at DWS Investments in London. ``AT&T's technology fits better with Vodafone than Verizon's. If Vodafone were to do nothing would it become a European utility, or does it pursue its global platform?''

    AT&T Wireless would give Vodafone 22 million customers and a carrier that relies on the same cellular technology that it uses: the Global System for Mobile communications, or GSM.

    The match may help Vodafone negotiate savings on bulk orders for handsets and other equipment. Verizon Wireless's technology is incompatible with GSM.

    Last Updated: February 13, 2004 17:13 EST
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