AT&T may split into four parts

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Board members of AT&T Corp., the nation's largest long-distance telephone service and cable television provider, intend to consider dividing the company into four distinct businesses, according to reports.

The split would create separate companies specializing in business services, wireless, consumer long-distance, and ``broadband'' delivery of TV, Internet and phone services over cable lines, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported in Monday's editions. The board meets Monday.

The company's biggest and most profitable unit, the Business Services department, which caters to corporate customers, would become the new AT&T and would create brand-licensing and commercial agreements with the three other businesses.

AT&T officials declined to comment on the proposed plan.

If the plan, called Project Grand Slam, is approved, an announcement could be made as early as Wednesday. Other options the board were to consider include leaving AT&T intact or spinning off one or more new businesses.

Under the split-into-four proposal, AT&T's wireless and cable TV operations would become separate companies over the next one to two years. The company's more than 60 million telephone users would not feel much immediate impact from the plan.

The four split units would be able to concentrate on their own strategies and grow more quickly than they would while confined to the larger AT&T scheme.

AT&T's market valuation has dropped by about $70 billion since January, partly because of falling prices in the long-distance industry. In morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, AT&T was unchanged at $27.13 per share, less than half its peak value earlier this year.


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