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BellSouth May Sell Division

March 05, 2004|From Associated Press

BellSouth Corp. is in talks to sell its Latin America operations to Telefonica of Spain to raise its share of the $41 billion that Cingular Wireless has agreed to pay to acquire AT&T Wireless. The assets, mostly cellphone businesses, could fetch up to $6 billion for BellSouth.

The talks come despite BellSouth's assertion as recently as September that Latin America would be a key ingredient to the company's efforts to overcome the steady loss of customers in its core local phone business in the U.S. to cellphones and new rivals.

This week, BellSouth's partner in the Cingular joint venture also revealed it may sell some assets, though SBC Communications Inc. asserted that any such move would not be driven by a need to raise money for the all-cash purchase of AT&T Wireless.

BellSouth shares rose 47 cents to $29.07 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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