BellSouth sits out M&A Madness

SBC buying AT&T, that I understand. Sprint buying Nextel, that makes sense, but Verizon-MCI deal if it happens doesn’t make much sense. Qwest-MCI is more easily digestible. But where is Bell South in all this M&A hoopla? Weren’t they the guys who wanted to really buy AT&T back in 2003. Why are they so quiet? BellSouth’s chief executive, F. Duane Ackerman, in an interview with Cox News Services said, ” I don’t feel compelled to do anything at this point. I like our hand. I like what we see.’’

He says if he makes an investment, or a purchase, the first question he asks, is how do you make money doing that. His argument for not making any moves is that the industry is changing, and as IP becomes more prevalent, companies like IBM also become major competitors and buying a beleaguered AT&T or MCI doesn’t make sense.

‘’More and more providers are involved in that space because they have applications that run on these (higher bandwidth) pipes,’’ Ackerman said.

And of course not being able to take a little dig at his partners at SBC, he points out that AT&T’s revenues are still dwindling.

‘’As you know, we don’t comment on mergers and acquisitions,’’ Ackerman said. Still, he provided this perspective on AT&T: ‘’They’ve got a revenue stream of about $30 billion. That revenue stream declined last year at about 12%. And I think I have read that they have forecast revenue to decline again this year by more than that.’’

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