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Baby Bells May Sell Bellcore to San Diego Firm for $700 Million

Telecom: Science Applications International, phone co-op wouldn't comment. Announcement expected soon.

September 24, 1996|From Associated Press

The seven Baby Bell telephone companies are poised to sell their research cooperative Bellcore to a San Diego-based defense contractor for about $700 million, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The sale would end a jointly owned arrangement that began a dozen years ago with the breakup of the old AT&T empire.

The newspaper said the sale of Bellcore to Science Applications International Corp., an employee-owned defense contractor based in San Diego, could be announced as early as this week.

The deal would be subject to approval by the boards of all seven phone companies, the newspaper said.

Bellcore spokeswoman Barbara McClurken said Monday that "no decision to sell the company has been made at this time."

"Bellcore cannot comment on prospective buyers or about any board deliberations, as this information is confidential," McClurken said.

Science Applications spokeswoman Jane Van Ryan said the company does not discuss "reports regarding its business plans or potential business opportunities."

However, the company "is open to all business opportunities which would be beneficial to our employee owners and the company," Van Ryan said.

Bellcore, whose formal name is Bell Communications Research, has a staff of about 5,800 and a stellar reputation in communications network expertise. Its scientists pioneered fiber optic technology, advise companies on how to recover from network failures and are expert in foiling computer viruses. It is based in Morristown, N.J.

Bellcore is owned by Pacific Telesis Group, San Francisco; Ameritech Corp., based in Chicago; Bell Atlantic Corp., Philadelphia; BellSouth Corp., Atlanta; Nynex Corp., New York; SBC Communications Inc., San Antonio; and US West Inc., Englewood, Colo.

The regional Bells decided in April 1995 to find a buyer for the research organization. It said others making early and serious inquiries about buying the unit were International Business Machines Corp. and Electronic Data Systems Corp.

SAIC employs about 22,000 peo-ple in 350 places worldwide and generated about $2 billion in revenue last year. Last month it announced a plan to merge with El Segundo-based Aerospace Corp., a nonprofit defense contractor, in a deal estimated to be worth about $200 million.

Its main business is consulting and providing technical advice to the government.

SAIC owns Network Solutions Inc., a Herndon, Va., company hired by the National Science Foundation in 1993 to be the official registrar of Internet addresses.

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