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Ma Bell sings Mambo Italiano

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Had AT&T issued the press release 12-hours earlier, we would have thought that their attempt to buy Telecom Italia was an April Fool’s Day joke – another attempt by them to out Google, Google.

Ma Bell (aka AT&T) and Carlos Slim (aka America Movil, and one time share holder of SBC, the predecessor of the new new AT&T), a Latin American cellular giant are jointly bidding to buy a third of Olimpia, a company owned by tire-maker Pirelli and Benetton.

Olimpia owns 18% of Telecom Italia, and has a controlling interest in Telecom Italia, the Italian incumbent that has a market capitalization of around $53.4 billion, has 24 million landline, 58 million wireless and about 8.6 million broadband subscribers. Slim wants a piece of the action so he can snatch Telecom Italia’s Brazilian business, something he has craved for a while but has been rebuffed by the Italians.

Italian government, obviously is not too thrilled about the deal. I found it quite amusing that AT&T went to extreme lengths to point out that it is an international company.

AT&T has proven itself to be a capable, committed partner in its international investments …. examples of this include AT&T’s 17-year partnership with Telmex, whose successful collaboration has helped deliver one of the most modern telecommunications networks in North America, as well as AT&T’s investment in South Africa, which resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship that helped consumers and business customers alike.

“We’re a global company now, and it’s very important for our global customers that we have strong assets and strong relationships around the world,” AT&T spokesman Michael Coe told Bloomberg. What do they say – if you have to remind the world of your past…..

PS: I am working on a special map that explains who owns what. Anyone have information on how Carlos Slim has worked with SBC/AT&T in the past, and the close links between the two companies, send them my way.

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